Posts tagged with "Senator Kyrsten Sinema"

With climate deal in sight, Democratic hopes hinge on Sinema

August 5, 2022

Now that Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia is on board, Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema has emerged as the final holdout on her party’s domestic agenda. So far, she’s staying characteristically silent, reports The New York Times.

Sinema—an inscrutable lawmaker who has shown a willingness to buck her party, according to the Times—has replaced Manchin as the most prominent and speculated-upon holdout on his party’s major climate, energy and tax package.

On Tuesday, August 2, he approached her on the Senate floor with a hushed entreaty. The results are still unknown.  “She’ll make a decision based on the facts,” Manchin told reporters later, calling it “a good talk.”

While Senator Manchin has embraced the public scrutiny and attention that comes with being a swing vote in the evenly divided Senate, Senator Sinema has remained a tight-lipped enigma. Passage of the Democrats’ major domestic policy initiative, negotiated by Manchin and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, now hinges on whether she is willing to support it.

So far, Senator Sinema won’t say—putting her colleagues in a perilous position as they rush to move the package forward as early as this week and toil to unite all 50 members of their caucus behind it. Republicans are expected to unanimously oppose the plan, which includes hundreds of billions of dollars in energy and climate proposals, tax increases, extended health care subsidies and a plan aimed at lowering prescription drug prices—meaning Democrats cannot spare a single vote if all Republicans are present.

Party leaders also will have to maneuver the bill through a series of rapid-fire amendments that could pass if any Democrat joins Republicans in support. With Manchin enthusiastically embarking on a media tour to celebrate the measure, fears of failure were now being fueled by Sinema’s characteristic silence.

A spokesperson for Sinema has said that the senator continues to review the legislation and wait for guidance from top Senate rules officials, who are analyzing whether it meets the strict rules that apply under the budget reconciliation process. Democrats are using the reconciliation process to shield the legislation from a filibuster and speed it through Congress.

Top Democrats on Wednesday were quietly weighing what potential changes to the bill, particularly to its tax provisions, might be needed to win Sinema’s support, as the Arizona senator was preparing her own wish list.

While she voted for the initial $3.5 trillion budget blueprint that allowed Democrats to begin work on the legislation, Sinema has not offered explicit support for many pieces of the current package, most notably much of the tax increases included to pay for it.

Doubt about Sinema’s support has centered on her past opposition to a proposal aimed at limiting the carried interest preferential tax treatment for income earned by venture capitalists and private equity firms. A similar proposal was among the tax changes that Manchin and Schumer included in their deal.

Manchin and other Democrats have said the provision would ensure fairness in the nation’s tax code. But Sinema, who resisted many of the tax rate increases her colleagues had pushed for, has privately signaled she wants the carried interest measure removed.

She also is pushing to add funds for drought resiliency, given that her state has struggled with devastating water shortages, according to officials briefed on the discussions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose sensitive negotiations.

Politico first reported the request from Sinema, whose state is currently in its 27th consecutive year of drought, according to the state’s climate office.

Sinema, like most of her colleagues, was blindsided by news of the deal between Manchin and Schumer and its details. Manchin has said that he intentionally did not confide in or consult other Democrats during final negotiations to salvage the climate and tax proposals because, he told reporters on Monday, “I wasn’t ever sure that we would get to a finale, to get a completed bill.”

It was unclear whether Democrats would be willing to strike the tax break for wealthy executives altogether to win over Sinema. Estimates suggest it would raise about $14 billion, a small portion of the $740 billion plan.

Party leaders expressed guarded optimism that they could pass the package with its key elements intact. “I’m very hopeful we’re all going to be united and pass this bill,” said Schumer, who said he and his staff were in touch with Ms. Sinema about the measure.

Research contact: @nytimes

Editor’s note: According to The New York Times, ” Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat of Arizona, announced on Thursday evening that she would support moving forward with her party’s climate, tax and health care package, clearing the way for a major piece of President Biden’s domestic agenda to move through the Senate in the coming days.”

Biden urges fractious Dems to unite around $1.75T megabill

October 29, 2021

President Joe Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi tried to propel their party toward a House vote as soon as Thursday, October 28, on a $550 billion Senate-passed infrastructure bill, even as progressives remain undecided about taking what one called “a leap of faith in the president,” reports Politico.

Soon after the White House outlined a framework for a $1.75 trillion deal on social spending, Biden made a high-stakes appearance on Capitol Hill to sell Pelosi’s caucus on it. While some liberal priorities were included in the package of climate, healthcare, and other social policy investments, others were left on the cutting-room floor—and, Politico said, House progressives remain noncommittal about whether to vote yes on infrastructure given their uncertainty about the framework’s Senate future.

The most expensive items in Biden’s proposal are clean energy and climate investments, at $555 billion; two years of free pre-school for 3- and 4-year-olds at $400 billion; and $200 billion on tax credits for one year of the Child Tax Credit. The biggest items left out are paid family leave and prescription drug reform. On the latter, a senior administration official made clear there are “not yet enough votes” for it.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus held its own meeting after Biden left, as its chair Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) held off on where her group stood after the president’s pitch for its votes. Another of her members, Representative Cori Bush (D-Missouri), said simply “no” when asked if she would vote for the infrastructure bill after the president’s push.

“We have had a position of needing to see the legislative text and voting on both bills,” Jayapal said, referring to the infrastructure bill and the separate, still-unwritten social spending bill. “And we’ll see where people are. But I think a lot of people are still in that place.”

According to Politico, Jayapal spoke after Biden made a direct plea for his party’s support. “I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that the House and Senate majorities and my presidency will be determined by what happens in the next week,” Biden told Democrats, according to a source in the room.

Indeed, top Democrats, including Pelosi, had hoped that the president’s trip to Rome for the climate summit—which he departed for later in the day on Thursday—would be a triumphant one after they clinched an agreement on the roughly $1.75 trillion social spending bill with moderate Senators Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona).

Sinema indicated she’s warm on the emerging deal, saying in a statement that “I look forward to getting this done.”

“We’re very excited about it. We’re going to send him off to his meetings with strength,” Pelosi said of Biden’s visit as she entered the Capitol. Asked whether progressives were on board, she said, “You’ll have to ask them.”

Research contact: @politico