Senate Democrats are aiming to pass a major spending bill this week that will include funding for climate change, health care and raising taxes on businesses.
The deal was unexpectedly struck last week by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., and a key centrist, Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., giving Democrats optimism they will have a robust agenda to turn in the competition to carry on the race before the midterm elections this fall.
While Manchin has appeared on five Sunday programs to defend the accord and call for its passage, another centrist holding a swing vote in the 50-50 Senate was Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., who the Democrats called a difficult negotiator contemplation is silent on whether she would vote for them Anti-Inflation Law of 2022published on Wednesday.
Sinema’s vote could decide the bill. Democrats who have no hope of garnering Republican support will need every member of their faction to be present and vote — which is not guaranteed given the recent absence of Covid-infected senators — for the Senate to clear.
A spokeswoman for Sinema said Sunday she had no comment on the bill, adding that “she needs to review the text and see what comes out of the parliamentary process,” referring to the Senate official who determines whether bills are passed comply with the Chamber’s strict budgetary rules.
Without their support, it’s still unclear if Senate Democrats can make it happen this week.
Democrats also hope to pass PACT legislation to extend medical coverage to veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits while on duty, a bipartisan measure Senate Republicans blocked last week.
Party leaders wanted to schedule another vote on this bill for Monday, but it could be delayed, leaving less time for the filibuster-proof bill. Republicans prodded the proposal amid anger that Democrats decided to proceed with climate and tax legislation they had thought dead due to Manchin’s earlier opposition.
Schumer’s office has said they intend to pass the bill before the chamber’s August recess. But they didn’t close the door to delay it if necessary.
Why is Sinema undecided?
Sinema was amenable to most provisions in the Democrats’ spending bill that align with a White House framework released in October 2021, which she endorsed. The big exception is the cap on the carried interest tax break that investment managers benefit from.
Last year, Sinema made it clear to Democratic leaders that she opposes closing what many in her party are calling a “carried-interest loophole,” according to multiple sources familiar with the negotiations. The provision was removed from the House-passed Build Back Better Act, which stalled indefinitely in the Senate earlier this year. But Manchin supports ending the tax break and has been added back to the new bill.
Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., who is being encouraged by some Democrats to challenge Sinema in 2024, said lawmakers should vote for the law.
“It would not be wise to block this bill that will reduce inflation and invest in climate change mitigation to protect a loophole for the ultra-rich,” Gallego told NBC News.
Speaking on NBC News’ Meet The Press, Manchin defended the legislation and said he hoped Sinema would support it.
“Kyrsten Sinema is a friend of mine and we work very closely together,” he said. “She made a tremendous contribution to this bill. And I’d like to think that she would be positive about that, but I respect her decision. She will make her own decision based on the content.”
Hard-race House Democrats look forward to passing the bill — if it gets through the Senate.
“I expect to be very supportive of it,” Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., told NBC News in an interview Saturday at the Huntington Beach Pier. “Medicare should be able to negotiate prices … The climate part of this, I think, is something that’s going to really enable our economy to compete with countries like China in the future.”
Even Porter’s Republican challenger, Scott Baugh, said he was “interested” in the drug pricing rules, some of which are very popular in polls, and must “fully evaluate” them before taking a position. But he opposes the rest of the bill.
“You’re reinforcing a failed policy,” he said in an interview at his Newport Beach campaign office. “You can’t spend more money and raise taxes and solve the problem.”
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., a staunch fiscal conservative, said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday that “it really looks to me like Joe Manchin has been put in the dry cleaners.”
“The corporate tax hike will slow growth and likely worsen a recession that we’re probably already in,” Toomey said.
Manchin, however, appeared committed to the legislation and defended the 15 percent corporate minimum tax, a key feature of the new revenue, dismissing Republican criticism of it.
“You would at least think they would pay at least 15%. Most companies and every company I know pay 21%. So this is not a tax increase. It closes a loophole,” he said on Sunday. “The last two years have been massive record gains.
“And apart from that, it was the lowest investment we’ve ever made. So it’s not the taxes that are driving it.”
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/manchin-pushes-speedy-passage-new-deal-sinema-stays-quiet-rcna40856 While Manchin is pushing for a quick passage of the new deal, Sinema remains calm