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President Biden speaks at the Electric City Trolley Museum in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Photo: Hannah Beier/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Democrats don't have the votes to raise corporate taxes, President Biden admitted at Thursday's CNN town hall in Baltimore, Maryland, where he went into detail on the state of negotiations concerning the massive reconciliation bill.

Why it matters: Democrats are still negotiating what will go into the bill. Divisions within the party have stalled the legislation for weeks.

What he's saying: Biden's appearance at the town hall peeled back the curtain to give Americans visibility into how the sausage gets made and why there are sticking points.

The president conceded on Thursday that Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.), among other moderates, opposes tax rate hikes for corporations and high-earners, which Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has suggested she could accept.

  • "Look, when you're ... President of the United States and you have 50 Democrats [in the Senate], everyone is a president," Biden said when pressed on whether there will be an actual increase in corporate tax rates.
  • "Every single one. So you've got to work things out."

Biden's free community college proposal, which has faced pushback from Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), is also no longer in the legislation, Biden said — though there will be funding for community colleges that teach specialized skills.

Federal paid parental leave, which the White House initially outlined as a 12-week proposal, is down to four weeks, he confirmed.

The big picture: In an episode highlighting the divisions, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) he can live without any of President Biden's social spending plan, Axios' Alayna Treene and Hans Nichols write.

  • Manchin's comfort level with zero as a final number reveals a stark reality for Democratic negotiators: Manchin can control the final dollar amount.

Go deeper

Biden's epic failures

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

In the two months since signing the $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law, President Biden has by almost every measure bombed big time on the things that matter most.

The big picture: Biden, who marks one year in office next Thursday, has never been less popular nationally, after personally lobbying his party and the public on Build Back Better and voting rights — and failing.

Dem Senate candidates rally against “sellout” Sinema

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema enters the Democratic caucus meeting on Thursday with President Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate are now explicitly campaigning against one of their potential colleagues, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) — branded by one as a "sellout" for opposing filibuster changes to enact party priorities.

Why it matters: It's an evolution of an increasingly popular strategy among Democrats: turning legislative inaction to their advantage by casting themselves as the "50th vote" for programs or the filibuster changes needed to pass President Biden's agenda.

Manchin says he won't support "perilous" filibuster rule change

Joe Manchin. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) reiterated his stance against reforming the filibuster in a statement Thursday, saying, "I cannot support such a perilous course of action."

Driving the news: President Biden earlier in the day attended the Senate Democratic caucus lunch to make a case for reforming the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation.