Manchin Will Talk to Sinema About Build Back Better Junior, but Will It Matter?

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Posted: Aug 01, 2022 6:30 PM
Manchin Will Talk to Sinema About Build Back Better Junior, but Will It Matter?

Source: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

While news came out last week that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had come to an agreement on the so-called Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, one key name was left out of that discussion, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). 

As Matt covered last week and earlier on Monday, it's not yet clear how the fiercely independent Sinema will vote. Spencer noted over the weekend that her fellow Democrats are feeling "angst and fear" when it comes to how she'll vote. Perhaps they should have included her in the agreement discussion then?

Sen. Manchin revealed in a press conference that Sinema wasn't involved in the discussion because he didn't expect the agreement to come to fruition.

Writing for The Hill, Alexander Bolton highlighted remarks from Manchin that he would speak to Sinema:

Manchin said he didn’t keep Sinema in the loop during his talks with Schumer because he didn’t know if a deal was possible, but he said he plans to speak with her Monday afternoon, when the Senate is scheduled to vote on a judicial nominee to Virginia’s eastern district court. 

“I’m sure we’ll get a chance to speak today because she usually comes in [on Monday], and we’ll speak on the floor,” he told reporters.  

Manchin said last week that he was “adamant” about keeping a proposal to close the carried interest loophole, which lets money managers pay a capital gains tax rate on the income they earn from profitable investments.  

Sinema’s staff said the senator is reviewing the legislation.

Manchin indicated that he would likely vote to protect the budget reconciliation package from amendments that would alter it significantly, arguing that he and Schumer have struck the right balance after months of difficult negotiations.  

This is potentially a stunning admission form Manchin, that he didn't even expect the agreement to come to be. It's also worth wondering if this will affect Sinema's willingness to sign on, no matter how close she may be with Manchin. 

No matter how close Sinema may be with Manchin, she and Leader Schumer have been at odds. In January, she and Manchin voted against nuking the filibuster in order to pass so-called voting rights legislation. And, as Holly Otterbein reported for POLITICO at the time, Schumer declined to say whether he would support the two Democrats if they faced primary battles for their 2024 reelection campaigns. 

CNN's Manu Raju also shared comments from Sen. John Thune (R-SD), who serves as the Senate Minority Whip.

Sinema isn't the only one whom Manchin potentially did dirty by not initially including in the agreement with Schumer. As Guy highlighted earlier on Monday, "Joe Manchin Is in Deep Denial."

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Despite stated concerns about inflation and raising taxes, Manchin has signed onto the deal. Research from researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton Budget Model pointed out that the misnamed bill would actually add to worsening inflation. 

Manchin himself may be screwed over in the deal, since his support came at the price of assurances from Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and President Joe Biden that they will advance separate legislation, at a later time, that streamlines permitting process for pipelines, among other things. Biden and many fellow Democrats, though, have already expressed clear hostility to pipelines. 

In a 50-50 Senate, where Democrats only have a majority with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as a tie-breaking vote, all hands on deck are needed in order for the bill to pass. 

Per POLITICO's Burgess Everett, Schumer expects a vote on the reconciliation package "this week."