Democrats are understandably excited by the unexpected reemergence of the left-for-dead FY 2022 budget reconciliation bill (formerly Build Back Better, now known as the Inflation Reduction Act). Just when it looked like holdout Joe Manchin was going to object to anything other than a very narrow health-care bill, if even that, he and Chuck Schumer suddenly unveiled a bigger package including energy investments and tax provisions in addition to the expected Medicare prescription-drug-price negotiation powers and a temporary extension of Obamacare subsidies. Looks like Senate Democrats wrong-footed Mitch McConnell for once, giving the White House an unexpected and much-needed win and providing a tonic for dispirited Democratic troops in the home stretch of the midterm election cycle.
Before anyone can take the Manchin-Schumer deal to the bank, there are some other fractious Democrats beyond the West Virginian who will need to sign off. First and foremost is Manchin’s long-time partner in obstruction, the senior senator from Arizona. As Axios puts it: “Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) has spent the summer out of the spotlight. That’s now going to change.” And while Manchin’s little red wagons in the yearlong struggle over reconciliation have been anti-inflation measures and propitiating fossil-fuel interests, Sinema has had other priorities:“We do not have a comment, as she will need to review the text,” a Sinema spokesperson said in the hours after news broke of Manchin’s stunning reversal.
One of the first signs Sinema wasn’t consulted on the Schumer-Manchin agreement was that it included some $14 billion in new revenue from taxing carried interest, which she has indicated she opposes
Between the lines: Sinema was on record last December supporting the 15% corporate tax rate, which will raise an estimated $313 billion to fund the Democrats’ climate priorities.
But that was before inflation took off and the constant chatter about a potential recession subsumed Washington.
While Sinema may not want to personally kill this heaven-sent deal herself, it would be surprising if she doesn’t take at least a pound of flesh in concessions to show her corporate friends she is still a major player.