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Can Senate Democrats Convince Sinema to Support the Spending Agreement Favoured by Manchin?

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have reached an agreement on healthcare, tax, and climate change proposal that has been dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

This agreement has cast a new spotlight on Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who is the only Senate Democratic vote on the legislation that is still uncertain.

The bill is a scaled-down alternative to Build Back Better, a comprehensive social spending and green energy bill that was killed by Manchin last year because he objected to its price tag and raised concerns over inflation.

The bill in its current form is a social spending and green energy bill. Sinema was one of the senators that did not back the earlier version of the measure.

Just a few hours after the Senate passed the bipartisan CHIPS Act on Wednesday, which was intended to assist the United States microprocessing industry in remaining competitive with China, Senator Manchin made the announcement that a deal had been reached on a revised proposal.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had earlier threatened to derail the proposal if Democrats pursued a reconciliation bill, the passage of which only needed a simple majority in the Senate as opposed to the traditional requirement of 60 votes.

Democrats in the Senate and the House expressed surprise and cautious optimism over the arrangement, but Republicans in both chambers criticised the agreement, which caught them off guard. While the White House lent its support, Vice President Biden expressed his disappointment that the law did not include all of the provisions he desired.

However, Sinema has not yet made it clear what stance she would take on the law, and her office has told reporters that she is currently analysing the wording.

At the beginning of the negotiations, Sinema fought against the inclusion of a provision in the pact that would close a tax loophole known as the carried interest tax loophole.

On Thursday, during a press call with reporters using the platform Zoom, Manchin stated that he had not discussed the arrangement with Sinema. Sinema was also absent from a meeting held on Thursday with Democrats in the Senate to discuss the plan.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin, stated that Senator Kyrsten Sinema is currently evaluating the bill. She stated, “I am aware that she is giving it a great deal of thought.”

Because it is anticipated that no Republicans will support the legislation, the Senate Democrats will need to obtain the votes of each and every one of their members to move the bill through the evenly divided Senate. Vice President Kamala Harris will most likely break any ties that may occur.

The bill would be an enormous and unanticipated political win for Democrats, who have had few legislative victories as they seek to defend their congressional majorities in the face of sinking approval ratings for President Joe Biden and increasing voter concern over inflation. If the bill were to pass, it would be a huge and unexpected win for Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections.

Sinema is known for being politically unyielding and can often surprise people with her surprising behaviour. She, like Manchin, has angered the more left-leaning members of her party by maintaining her support for the Senate filibuster despite the fury it has caused, including an incident in which she was followed into a restroom.

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Although Sinema is the most obvious possible obstacle in the way of the legislation’s passage, there are several other variables that could also lead to its demise, including the following:

The parliamentarian in charge of the Senate is currently looking into it to determine whether or not it satisfies the requirements for a reconciliation bill that is exempt from being blocked by a filibuster.

The operations of the Senate, which does not have a rule governing voting by proxy like the House does, are also still being impacted by COVID-19. For example, Manchin publicised the arrangement even though he is still recovering from the virus in seclusion.

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