Shenanigans: Why Didn't Schumer & Manchin Consult Sinema On Massive Spending Deal?

By Rachel Morris | Friday, 05 August 2022 16:45
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Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is finally airing her concerns about Democratic colleague Joe Manchin's plan reached with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer to raise $739 billion in revenue.

The deal, which would include $433 billion in government spending on climate and health programs, would ultimately give President Biden and Democrats a significant policy win, in a week when Biden declared the US took out Osama Bin Laden's Number Two Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Sinema has been silent since Manchin stated the deal this week – and the White House has refused to divulge what contact Biden has had with the Arizona senator, who has infuriated Democratic colleagues and who is up for reelection in 2024.

"wants to nix language narrowing the so-called carried interest loophole, which would change the way some investment income is taxed," Politico reported.

The asks would represent a stunning $19 billion in changes and reflect Sinema's leverage, yet are still dwarfed by the overall size of the package.

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Sinema has long raised concerns regarding the tax provision, a priority for Biden that Manchin said was important to his backing for a deal after months of negotiations.

The provision brings in roughly $14 billion, with funds going to climate change and other initiatives.

Sinema is seeking roughly $5 billion in drought resiliency funds, which would benefit her parched state. The report cited sources familiar with her concerns, although her office didn't comment.

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Sinema has spent days dodging reporters' questions regarding whether she would back the Manchin-Schumer deal, even as the White House got behind it and even progressive Democrats embraced it.

The measure is dramatically scaled back from Biden's original Build Back Better agenda.

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If drought relief that would benefit her state has echoes of the infamous "cornhusker kickback," Manchin may have opened the door by getting permitting commitments that would see the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would carry liquid natural gas across roughly 300 miles of northwest West Virginia and southern Virginia, get approval.

Manchin got commitments from the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to enable it to be finished, according to his office. Manchin has repeatedly called for more energy on the market to combat inflation, even as he promotes different climate-friendly initiatives in the overall package, which includes backing for electric vehicles and clean energy.

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White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre once again declined to say Wednesday whether Biden, who remains in covid isolation at the White House, has even phoned Sinema.

"We're not going to negotiate from here, as we say many times, or in public – just in general – and not going to speak to any other congressional members’ conversations or what's happening in that, that was related to that," she told reporters at the White House.

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