It’s one thing to get Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to agree to a comprehensive deal benefiting Democrats and people of color. Having Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-AR) sign on to it, given her history of keeping the filibuster intact under the fake guise of bipartisanship, is another. CNN reports that Sinema decided to be the final piece in the Democrat reconciliation puzzle to pass the Inflation Reduction Act providing funds to fight climate change, close tax loopholes, and negotiate prescription drug prices.
With that 60-vote threshold in place, Republicans have been able to block voting rights legislation to curtail an onslaught of voter suppression in Republican-led states and the original $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act that had more money to lower health care, higher education, and housing costs for Black citizens. Climate change is said to devastate communities of color the most as it increases, so the investment will help. The Inflation Reduction Act also has $60 billion in investments that will go to disadvantaged communities. So, for Sinema to agree to the Inflation Reduction Act is out of the ordinary.
This IRA agreement is only if Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough agrees that provisions in the bill will pass reconciliation restraints. With reconciliation, only 50 votes are required to send the legislation to the House, where Democrats hold a slight majority.
Sinema’s blessing does not come without concessions, however. A critical item taken out is a provision that would have tightened the carried interest loophole, CNN notes. That would have raised the taxes paid by hedge funds and private equity managers and raised $14 billion.
Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) touts a $369 billion investment into energy and climate change programs and out-of-pocket costs caps on Medicare drug plans as integral pieces that remain.
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“The agreement preserves the major components of the Inflation Reduction Act, including reducing prescription drug costs, fighting climate change, closing tax loopholes exploited by big corporations and the wealthy, and reducing the deficit by $300 billion,” Schumer said in a statement. “The final version of the Reconciliation bill, to be introduced on Saturday, will reflect this work and put us one step closer to enacting this historic legislation into law.”
Of course, Republicans are furious they couldn’t get their two Senate Democrat friends to block the paired-down Build Back Better Act.
“So, what will vote-a-rama be like?” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C) told reporters on Friday, referring to the voting marathon senators are set to be subjected to in the next few days as part of the process Democrats are using to pass the bill. “It’d be like hell.”“They deserve this. As much as I admire Joe Manchin and Sinema for standing up to the radical left at times, they’re empowering legislation that will make the average person’s life more difficult,” Graham said.
Republicans are strategizing how to make voting as painful as possible for Democrats by attaching amendments to the bill. The Democrats can counter with a “wraparound” amendment, allowing for the erasure of all amendments adopted during the session.