Sinema Won't Block GOP Changes to Climate Bill

Democrats, including Manchin, worry about winning Arizona senator's vote
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2022 10:35 AM CDT
Sinema Won't Block GOP Changes to Climate Bill
President Biden, speaks outside the White House with a bipartisan group of senators in June 2021. From left are, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio; Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Biden; Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.; Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.; and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

(Newser) – Sen. Joe Manchin isn't sure that his frequent fellow Democratic holdout, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, will support the legislative agreement he struck with their majority leader last week, either. Sinema has made no promises, Axios reports, which has her party worried. Democrats need all of their 50 Senate votes to pass climate, health care, and tax legislation, and any changes Sinema might want could cause the deal to collapse. It took Manchin and Sen. Chuck Schumer months to get the package to this point. Sinema got on a flight to Arizona on Friday with a printout of the 725-page bill.

Manchin said Sunday he has hope, per the Hill. Sinema wasn't part of the negotiations, but Manchin said the Arizona senator is invested, especially on the part allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices. "She has so much in this piece of legislation," Manchin said on CNN's State of the Union. He and Schumer didn't include her in the negotiations, which Manchin said Sunday was because he didn't think they'd reach a deal anyway. That could backfire this week, per Axios. Sinema has indicated she won't try to stop GOP senators from making changes in the package, and that's their plan.

Republicans want to add amendments to force vulnerable Democrats to make choices they don't want to make, on the record; the process the Senate will be using allows an unlimited number of amendments to be proposed. In some areas, Schumer made assumptions on Sinema's positions that may not hold up when it's time to vote on the package. "Hopefully, she will be positive about it," Manchin said on CNN's State of the Union. "But she'll make her decision. I respect that." Sinema was a no-show at the Democratic caucus meeting Thursday. She'll face pressure from home, too, should she be responsible for derailing climate change legislation. She's up for reelection in 2024, and Democratic candidates who would vote yes are waiting in the wings in Arizona. (Read more Kyrsten Sinema stories.)

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