by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It has now been almost a week since Democratic senator Joe Manchin announced he would support a hefty nearly half-a-trillion dollar spending package targeting energy and climate, health care, and increased taxes on the wealthy. But Manchin and Chuck Schumer hadn’t informed Arizona senator Kyrsten Sinema about their deal until after it was publicly announced, and she represents the last serious potential obstacle. Our John Fund notes that there are reports of other Democratic senators with reservations about the legislation, but who aren’t willing to publicly oppose the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act.”
The fact that Sinema hasn’t signed on yet is a sign that if she becomes a “yes,” she won’t be an easy yes. She’s talking with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, discussing whether the bills proposed 15 percent minimum tax on corporations would be economically harmful, and those business groups won’t be telling her, “don’t worry, that provision will be fine.”
And CNN reports Sinema is in no rush:
“On Wednesday, Sinema indicated to CNN that she was in no hurry to announce her position on the bill. ‘Taking my time,’ she said. Her spokesperson reiterated that Sinema was waiting for the review by the Senate parliamentarian to be completed before announcing her position.”
Sure, Sinema faces enormous political pressure to get on board now. But if the process drags out, and as we get closer to autumn, will pressure start to build in the other direction?
Is time on the side of Senate Democrats? The closer they get to the midterm elections, the more senators like Mark Kelly of Arizona, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, and perhaps even Patty Murray of Washington or Raphael Warnock of Georgia may get antsy about voting for tax increases, as GOP attack ads will be flooding the airwaves.