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Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The universe of Democratic senators concerned about raising the corporate tax rate to 28% is broader than Sen. Joe Manchin, and the rate will likely land at 25%, parties close to the discussion tell Axios.

Why it matters: While increasing the rate from 21% to 25% would raise about $600 billion over 15 years, it would leave President Biden well short of paying for his proposed $2.25 trillion, eight-year infrastructure package.

  • Biden’s plan to increase the rate U.S. multinationals pay on their foreign earnings from 10.5% to 21% is less controversial and stands a better chance of remaining intact in the final legislation. That would raise an additional $700 billion.
  • But corporate lobbying groups are preparing for a long-term battle over both rates.
  • The Business Roundtable launched an advertising campaign last week and released a survey of 178 CEOs discussing how the proposed changes would affect their company’s competitiveness.

The big picture: The White House hasn’t publicly backed away from the president's proposed 28% rate but indicated it’s willing to find a compromise to pay for his spending plans.

  • Democrats close to the White House expect Biden will accept 25% and pocket it as a political win.
  • President Trump lowered the rate from 35% to 21%.

Driving the news: A collection of 10 senators from both parties — the so-called Group of 20 — is working to find a compromise on what to include in an initial infrastructure package and how to pay for it.

  • “If we come together in a bipartisan way to pass that $800 billion hard infrastructure bill that you were talking about, that I've been urging, then we show our people that we can solve their problems,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said on "Fox News Sunday."
  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has crystalized the G-20’s challenge by breaking it down into three issues: scope, size and pay-fors.
  • “It is much easier to come up with appropriate pay-fors and bipartisan agreement if we're talking about a more focused package that truly is centered on infrastructure,” she said last Thursday.

Between the lines: While Manchin (D-W.Va.) has made clear his preference for a 25% rate, he’s far from alone.

  • Democrats who've privately hinted they may be uncomfortable with going to 28% include Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Jon Tester of Montana.
  • The Democratic dynamic is similar to the one about increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which was ultimately rejected by eight Senate Democrats.
  • Some of them talked about something closer to $11.

Go deeper: There’s similar sentiment in the House, where moderates also are opposed to increasing taxes too much, Axios had reported.

  • "I think that 25% is fine," Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) said.

Be smart: Democrats view the debate about the corporate rate as a litmus test for Republican interest in bipartisanship during the Biden era.

  • If they can find a middle ground, they hope to work on other issues.
  • Many are skeptical, though, even as Republicans say infrastructure spending is badly needed.
  • A failure to reach consensus here would only fuel calls to use budget reconciliation to ram through other spending plans.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article included Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia among the Democratic senators who have privately indicated uncertainty about raising the corporate rate to 28%. "Kaine supports raising the corporate tax rate to 28% and has never suggested otherwise," said spokesperson Katie Stuntz.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.

2 hours ago - Health

CDC director says COVID-19 messaging should have been clearer

Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the messaging around the COVID-19 pandemic and changing guidance should have been clearer.

State of play: Walensky is being coached by media experts and is planning to have more press briefings by herself in order to ensure that CDC is seen as an independent, scientific entity, rather than as a political one, the Journal reports.

2 hours ago - World

UAE asks U.S. to reinstate Houthi terrorist designation after attack

Secretary of State Tony Blinken (left) listens to United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan during a joint news conference at the State Department iin October. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed asked Secretary of State Tony Blinken in a phone call Monday to re-designate the Houthi rebels in Yemen as a terrorist organization, a senior Emirati official told Axios.

Why it matters: Less than a month after he assumed office, President Biden rolled back the Trump administration’s decision to make the designation. He said it hampered humanitarian assistance to the Yemeni people. Since then, the Houthis have escalated their attacks against Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region — including an attack Monday in Abu Dhabi.