Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) offered her support Thursday to a deal struck by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on a healthcare, tax, and climate spending bill, with a change she had sought, giving the reconciliation bill a path forward in the evenly divided upper chamber.
Manchin announced last week the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, a scaled-back version of Build Back Better, that had the support of the rest of the Democrats in the Senate.
Democrats are seeking to pass the bill using a process called reconciliation, not bound by the 60-vote filibuster, and can do so unilaterally with their slim majority in the 50-50 chamber due to Vice President Kamala Harris’s tiebreaking vote.
But all eyes were on Sinema because that method required her support.
“We have agreed to remove the carried interest tax provision, protect advanced manufacturing, and boost our clean energy economy in the Senate’s budget reconciliation legislation,” Sinema said in a statement. “Subject to the Parliamentarian’s review, I’ll move forward.”
In a statement, Schumer said: “I am pleased to report that we have reached an agreement on the Inflation Reduction Act that I believe will receive the support of the entire Senate Democratic conference.”
Schumer said the final version of the bill will be introduced Saturday.
The bill would mark a political victory for Democrats before November’s midterm elections. Sinema’s unclear position on the bill seemed to be Democrats biggest obstacle to its passage, but it is still under review by the parliamentarian, and lingering COVID-19 infections around Capitol Hill could leave senators unable to vote if they become infected and must quarantine.
The bill is a scaled-back alternative to Build Back Better, President Joe Biden’s sweeping social spending and green energy bill that Manchin sunk last year when he objected to its price tag and raised concerns over inflation. Sinema also did not support the previous version of the bill.
The deal on an alternative measure came as a surprise on Capitol Hill and was announced by Manchin just hours after the Senate passed the bipartisan CHIPS Act, a bill aimed at helping the United States microprocessing industry compete against China. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had previously threatened to sink the CHIPS bill if Democrats pursued a reconciliation bill, which requires a simple Senate majority for passage, rather than 60 votes.
Biden offered his support to the Manchin deal while he lamented that the bill wasn’t everything he wanted.
Sinema, who was not a part of Manchin’s negotiations with Schumer, took several days to review the deal as Democrats sought to persuade her to vote for it while Republicans attempted to sway her away.
The initial Manchin-Schumer deal contained a measure closing the so-called carried interest tax loophole, which Sinema opposed during the original Build Back Better negotiations. But her statement indicates she will support the bill with its removal.