Democrats celebrate an early victory lap by clapping each other on the back for Joe Manchin’s acceptance of a much-slimmed-down climate/energy/drug-price bill.
A third Democrat must be persuaded to vote for the Inflation Reduction Act. Arizona Senator Kyrsten Silene has so far remained silent. Her decision is being a gamble by the Democratic leadership.
The “Vote a-Rama” stage of reconciliation, which Democrats use to pass the bill, will begin in the coming days. The Republicans will be presenting dozens of amendments to force votes on a range of hot-button issues. Democrats will be nervous about being recorded on topics that are not likely to pass but could be.
The problem with the Democratic Senate Leadership’s plan is that they don’t know whether Sinema will approve the bill. Joe Manchin and Joe Biden might still be smiling.
Sinema refuses to include a provision that would eliminate carried interests, a strategy hedge fund managers use to lower their tax rates. This could jeopardize the entire reconciliation process and send Democrats back to square 1.
Because the bill was not approved by the nonpartisan parliamentarian of the chamber, Sinema has been reluctant to publicly support it. This could change. The Senate’s rules referee will decide whether the provisions of the bill can be protected against a GOP filibuster. This will be possible because of the budget process this year.
The bill is still being developed behind the scenes. Senator Raphael Warnock (D.Ga. His party would attach his legislation to reduce insulin costs to $35, he stated.
Republicans believe Warnock’s insulin limit is against the Byrd Rule for reconciliation. Democrats may need to omit other provisions if they want to put the bill to a vote after the Senate parliamentarian finishes.
Democrats are at risk of Sinema voting for a Republican Amendment to the final legislation. This would make it hard for Senators on the left to accept.
Will Sinema really block the bill and put at risk her party’s slim chances of winning November?
Senator Kevin Cramer,(R.N.D.), is confident that Sinema will stick to her moderate principles.
“I have always believed that she is right”. He stated that he did not know how it would end. She is more conviction-driven than she is transactional.
He stated that the bill’s climate and tax provisions would be a major issue in the midterm elections if they were viewed as fuelling inflation or dampening corporate investment.
Politicians may claim that they will not bow to pressure but what then? Sinema claims she is a “moderate Democrat” in this instance but her party will continue to be concerned about the partisan bill.