Sinema Announces Support For Inflation Reduction Act
21:23 GMT 05.08.2022 (Updated: 13:36 GMT 06.08.2022)
Kyrsten Sinema along with Joe Manchin have frustrated their fellow Democrats by refusing to support proposed legislation during the Biden administration. Her support of the bill opens a pathway for it to be passed in the Senate.
The Inflation Reduction Act is set to move forward in the Senate after the last Democratic holdout, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, indicated that she will support it on Thursday.
"Subject to the parliamentarian's review, I'll move forward,” Sinema said in a statement about the bill. Sinema was the last Democratic holdout in the Senate after Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced he will support the legislation last week.
To get Sinema’s support, Democrats had to remove a tax increase on carried interest that targeted rich investors. In its place, the agreement includes a stock buyback tax that should bring in more revenue than the carried interest tax would have brought in, according to a Democratic source (via USAToday).
Democrats will need support from every member of their party and Independent Senator Bernie Sanders to pass the bill. That will give them 50 votes against the 50 seats the Republican party holds. Vice President Kamala Harris will then act as the tie-breaker, allowing the bill to proceed to President Biden’s desk.
To do this, they plan to use a process called budget reconciliation that will allow them to skip the filibuster. Otherwise, they will need the support of ten Republicans to overcome the filibuster, a prospect that is highly unlikely. In February of last year, the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the Democrats could not use the same process to institute a minimum wage increase, sinking one of Biden’s early legislative goals.
While the Senate can overrule the parliamentarian, it is a matter of debate if that would require 60 votes or a simple majority.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that the bill is on track to be introduced to the Senate on Saturday. Republicans can delay the process by calling for amendments. “We’re not sure [if] they’ll do [that] or not,” said Schumer.
3 August, 15:55 GMT
After Manchin announced he would support the bill, Sinema declined to speak on it publicly. Together, they have been the two Democratic senators most often opposed to Biden’s agenda. Last year, they declined to support the Build Back Better plan, the keystone piece of legislation of the Biden Administration, causing it to stall in Congress. They also opposed changes to the filibuster that would’ve allowed Democrats to pass more of their agenda without Republican support.
The Inflation Reduction Act will allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, extend Affordable Care Act subsidies through 2025 and address climate change. It will be funded through a minimum 15% corporate tax rate and increased enforcement by the Internal Revenue Service.
Those tax increases are expected to raise $739 billion, compared to $433 billion in spending the act proposes.