However, the interest tax provision was not carried in the more expensive Christmas version of the Democrats’ bill that Sinema generally signed on to. And his inclusion is a key factor in Sinema’s public neutrality under a bill expected to be supported by 49 of his colleagues.
Still, the party is moving forward in hopes of passing the bill without a single GOP vote, taking advantage of strict rules that allow Democrats to lapse, even as much of the road remains. construction.
“I’m going to approach it from the positive side and say that I hope that Sen. Cinema on board,” said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.).
Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) declined to address his own conversations with Sinema but took issue with the bill’s health care and climate provisions. He said his constituents are focused on the drought and wildfires in Arizona and prescription drug prices.
“We have an incredible opportunity here to solve this problem,” Kelly said. “I want to see us get something across the finish line.”
The legislation would impose a 15 percent minimum tax on large corporations, increase IRS enforcement and lower prescription drug prices to bring in an estimated $739 billion in revenue. It also spends $369 billion on energy and climate, extends Obamacare subsidies through 2024 and sends $300 billion to deficit reduction.
Overall, it’s far less than the Democrats’ previous party-line proposals from last year, but far more than the health care-focused package the party thought it was getting last week.
Sinema is reluctant to publicly endorse the bill in part because the chamber’s non-party lawmakers aren’t quite happy with it and it could still change. After hearing from both Republicans and Democrats, a Senate rules arbiter will finally consider whether the bill’s provisions can enjoy protections from the GOP filibuster that this year’s budget process affords.
And the bill is still evolving behind the scenes. Schumer indicated that Democrats will try to add legislation that will address high insulin costs. And in an interview, said Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) said his party will try to attach legislation to cap insulin costs at $35.
“My bill is going to cap the cost of insulin in the reconciliation bill,” Warnock said.
But Republicans think they will be able to make a case that the Georgian plan runs afoul of Senate budget rules, which would trigger a vote at the 60-vote threshold. That could still be a useful political exercise for Democrats, challenging Republicans to vote on the floor to block the supply of insulin.
Warnock is up for re-election this fall, and Democrats are keen to highlight their fight to lower drug prices on the campaign trail. When asked what he had heard about that interested him in Arizona, co-owner Kelly replied that he has heard a lot about high drug prices.
The Senate is expected to move on the bill later this week; a vote to proceed will be the first test of support among the 50 Democratic caucus members. After that comes 20 hours of debate and then an unlimited “vote-a-rama” on amendments, all of which need only a simple majority to pass.
That chaotic free-for-all will give Cinema, as well as every other senator, a chance to change the bill, although Republicans are likely to offer most of the amendments.
Days after Manchin offended most of his colleagues by cutting his deal with Schumer, GOP senators are racking their brains behind the scenes to see if they can disprove him. The Republicans are hopeful that Sinema will vote with them on a handful of amendments and then resist the efforts of the Democratic leaders to remove those changes from the legislation at the end of the vote-a-rama.
Minority Shepherd of the Senate Sean Thune (RS.D.) said that he is talking to Sinema about why he is opposing the legislation and said that “she is doing an analysis, she keeps her own advice… .”
One potential GOP amendment would scuttle the carried interest language in the legislation, bringing in $14 billion in revenue for a total of $739 billion in the package. Thune said that Sinema has a “pretty hard position” against that part of the bill.
“I’m definitely for that and I’m sure we will [try]. I think there is a good chance if we vote for it. who knows, [Democrats] they could take it off before they get to her if she protests enough,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer (RN.D.). “At least I won’t be surprised anymore that they include her.”
Anthony Adragna contributed to this report.