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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Millionaires be warned: Democrats are looking for creative ways to tax the wealthiest Americans to pay for their $1.75 trillion social safety net expansion, lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: The nation’s 700 billionaires may have dodged a bullet when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) effectively killed a plan to tax just their unrealized capital gains. But Manchin has told colleagues he's open to hitting all the country’s richest families and individuals with higher taxes.

  • One idea is a new 15% minimum tax — to make up the approximately $200 to $250 billion Democrats were counting on from the billionaire tax that had been pushed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Driving the news: Even as he filleted Wyden’s billionaire tax, Manchin floated a separate “patriotic tax."

  • He suggested it should prevent wealthy Americans from declaring “zero tax liability.”
  • For Americans who've had “a very, very good life and have had a lot of opportunities — there should be a 15% patriotic tax,” Manchin told reporters.

What we're watching: Manchin huddled with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) Wednesday afternoon to discuss ways to find additional revenue.

  • “Senator Manchin believes that very wealthy people should pay taxes because it is their patriotic duty,” Warren told Axios.
  • That doesn't include her own proposed “wealth tax,” which would impose a 2% fee on wealth over $50 million, and 3% for more than $1 billion.
  • “That’s not where we are,” she said of her talks with Manchin. “Even so, there are ways to make certain that billionaires do not escape taxes.”

Go deeper: Democrats are engaged in a complicated negotiation among various factions in their own party about what to include in their social spending and climate plan — and how to fund it.

  • A proposal to provide paid family leave was jettisoned on Wednesday afternoon in an effort to cut the price of the overall bill, but supporters insist it can survive.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is moving toward a vote on the separate $1.2 trillion infrastructure package later this week and has effectively delinked the infrastructure and social spending bills.

Between the lines: One way to make the math work — and have all the new spending offset with fresh revenue — is to lower the overall price tag.

  • “The top line coming down makes it easier to assemble the package and pay for it,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) “We’ll have a paid-for package.”
  • Manchin stuck with his $1.5 trillion price tag during his meeting with President Biden on Tuesday, according to a person familiar with their conversation.

What they are saying: Senators are pleading for more time to work out the tax policy — and legislative language — in any potential deal.

  • We need “to allow some of this very, very complicated tax policy an appropriate airing back and forth,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)
  • Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) predicted that finding the right revenue formula would take “weeks.”
  • “There's a lot of things that have been kicked off the table," he said. "I don't know how it doesn't take some time, but we’ll see.”

Go deeper

Senate Republicans shrug off debt default deadline

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testifies before House members Wednesday. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Republicans are feeling far more relaxed about the impending Dec. 15 federal debt-default deadline this time around, with many suggesting the real drop-dead date isn't until January.

Why it matters: Their attitude toward the deadline set by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is distinctively different from the hair-on-fire rhetoric before the initial Oct. 18 date. But a Congress discounting the advice of a Treasury secretary is risky financial practice — and has the potential to affect markets itself.

Australia joins U.S. in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Australia is joining the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in protest of human rights abuses committed by China's government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Wednesday.

Driving the news: After the Biden administration's announcement that U.S. officials won't attend the Games due to the ongoing genocide of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region of China, Morrison said at a Sydney briefing that Australia would follow suit as "it's the right thing to do."

Progressives to file resolution to strip Boebert's committee seats

Rep. Lauren Boebert walking through the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House progressives are planning to introduce a resolution on Wednesday to strip Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) of her committee assignments, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The move, which was first reported by the Washington Post, comes as progressives — anxious to see the right-wing firebrand face retribution for her recent comments — have grown frustrated by Democratic leadership's inaction on the issue.