Sinema indicates she may want to change Schumer-Manchin deal

Share with:

Sinema indicates she may want to change Schumer-Manchin deal

Hans Nichols

Axios on facebook

Axios on twitter

Axios on linkedin

Axios on email

Photo illustration of Sen. Joe Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema looking at each other with the earth in the background
Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Stefani Reynolds-Pool, Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) had a message for her Democratic colleagues before she flew home to Arizona for the weekend: She’s preserving her options.

Why it matters: Sinema has leverage and she knows it. Any potential modification to the Democrat’s climate and deficit reduction package — like knocking out the $14 billion provision on carried interest — could cause the fragile deal to collapse.

  • Her posture is causing something between angst and fear in the Democratic caucus as senators wait for her to render a verdict on the secret deal announced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin last Thursday.

Driving the news: Sinema has given no assurances to colleagues that she’ll vote along party lines in the so-called “vote-a-rama” for the $740 billion bill next week, according to people familiar with the matter.

  • The vote-a-rama process allows lawmakers to offer an unlimited number of amendments, as long as they are ruled germane by the Senate parliamentarian. Senators — and reporters — expect a late night.
  • Republicans, steaming mad that Democrats have a chance to send a $280 billion China competition package and a massive climate and health care bill to President Biden, will use the vote-a-rama to force vulnerable Democrats to take politically difficult votes.
  • They’ll also attempt to kill the reconciliation package with poison pills — amendments that make it impossible for Schumer to find 50 votes for final passage.

The intrigue: Not only is Sinema indicating that she’s open to letting Republicans modify the bill, she has given no guarantees she’ll support a final “wrap-around” amendment, which would restore the original Schumer-Manchin deal.

The big picture: Schumer made a calculated decision to negotiate a package with Manchin in secrecy. He assumed that all of his other members, including Sinema, would fall into line and support the deal.

  • Now his caucus is digesting the specifics, with Sinema taking a printout of the 725-page bill back to Arizona on Friday for some dense in-flight reading.
  • Schumer will find out this week if his gamble in keeping Sinema in the dark will pay off.

What we’re watching: While Sinema supported the 15% minimum book tax back in December, which would raise more than $300 billion, Schumer never bothered to check if her position changed, given the darkening economic outlook.

  • Schumer and Manchin also inserted the language on taxing carried interest as regular income, which would raise approximately $14 billion, knowing full well that Sinema never agreed to it. That move blindsided Sinema.

The intrigue: While Schumer and Manchin have a well-documented and tumultuous relationship — replete with private fence-mending Italian dinners — Schumer and Sinema do not regularly engage.

Flashback: The Schumer-Sinema relationship took a big blow back in February when Schumer declined to endorse Sinema for her 2024 re-election when directly asked by CNN.

  • She didn’t attend her party’s caucus meeting on Thursday.

 54 total views

Share with:

Category: News View 27