Democrats have been trying to push a massive $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, to include as many of their agenda items as they can. It’s so massive, that even some Democrats have been having an issue with it.
One of those Democrats is Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). Sinema just put a stake through the bill, dashing the Democrats’ hope of getting it through as presently proposed. If she holds her ground, they won’t be able to get it through.
Sinema indicated that she thought it was far too expensive but that she supported job growth and American competitiveness
“I have also made clear that while I will support beginning this process,” Sinema explained. “I do not support a bill that costs $3.5 trillion — and in the coming months, I will work in good faith to develop this legislation with my colleagues and the administration to strengthen Arizona’s economy and help Arizona’s everyday families get ahead.”
Adding Sinema to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who also has an issue with it, the Democrats’ dreams are pretty well dashed, at least for it as constituted with the present price tag, since they would need all senators on board to get it passed given the current party split in the Senate. The two might not even be the only ones, as Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) also said he would have to look at the numbers before he could say anything.
Mark Kelly did not go as far as fellow AZ Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who is opposed to Dems’ $3.5T price tag.
"I'm still looking at it," Kelly told me when asked about Sinema's opposition. "We'll see what's in the details of the bill, what we spend the money on and how we pay for it."
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) July 28, 2021
Meanwhile, Sinema announced that she and Sen. Rob Portman had a breakthrough on the process toward a smaller, separate bipartisan infrastructure bill. That’s far below what the other Democrats have been pushing for so it remains to be seen if that would actually make it through. It’s not clear what would be encompassed in it yet, although here are some of the reported aspects of it.
INFRASTRUCTURE DEAL DETAILS
• $550b new spending (🔽 from 579b)
• $110b for roads
• $65b for broadband
• Highway/transit distro is complex
• Sinema “very excited to have a deal”
• Portman: “This bill is paid for.”https://t.co/rNMvoLBLIi
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) July 28, 2021
“We have reached agreement on the major issues. We still have legislative language to finalize,” Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, told reporters after the five GOP negotiators met with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Portman said Democrats accepted their latest offer to resolve the issue of highway and transit funding, which was one of the last major obstacles.
“This bill is paid for,” he said.
The Senate could begin the multistep process to approve the package later in the evening, he said, adding that they “expect to have the language completed by then.”
McConnell said he would vote to move forward on it.
Based on a commitment from Leader Schumer to Senators Portman and Sinema that the Portman-Sinema amendment to be filed will be the substitute amendment, I will vote to proceed to the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) July 28, 2021
Sinema has shown herself to be a thorn in the Democrats’ side in the past, when she previously indicated that she was against getting rid of the filibuster, something for which many Democrats have been thirsting. She actually sees that not only is it wrong for the concept of protecting the minority in the Senate, but that they could very well lose the Senate and be back in the minority as they were last year when they used the filibuster a lot. So it’s a good thing for everyone that at least there’s one Democrat with a little sense.