Sinema, along with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, have been the two Senate Democrats most willing to buck their party since President Joe Biden took office in 2021—as Democrats need their caucus to vote in unison to pass
Republicans hoped the moderate pair of Democrats would block their party’s spending bill, known as the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which contains funding for healthcare and climate initiatives. Republicans argue the bill’s spending will increase government and therefore inflation, but Democrats say it would lower inflation by reducing the federal deficit.
Their hopes were dealt a blow last week when Manchin announced his intentions to vote for the bill. His announcement meant that all eyes turned to how Sinema would vote.
She has not publicly said how she intends to vote on the spending bill, but Barrasso offered praise for her during an appearance on Fox News Sunday, adding that he knows she felt ‘blindsided” by Manchin’s support.
“She has a spine of steel. She’s not going to be easily twisted,” he said.
What Is in the Inflation Reduction Act
Lawmakers in support of the bill say it will help lower the national deficit to lower inflation—which has become a top issue for millions of Americans amid concerns the economy could enter a recession—while also investing in healthcare and renewable energy.
In total, it would allocate $369 billion to energy security and initiatives to fight climate change, while another $64 billion would fund a three-year extension of the Affordable Care Act program and allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, according to a bill summary released by Senate Democrats.
Democrats say the bill would pay for these programs, as well as reduce the deficit by an additional $300 billion, by a 15 percent minimum corporate tax, prescription drug pricing reform, IRS tax enforcement and closing the “carried interest loophole,” according to the bill summary.
Manchin’s Support Blindsided GOP
Barrasso’s remarks come just days after Manchin blindsided Republicans by announcing his support after months of negotiations appeared to end in no deal between him and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
But last week, Manchin announced that he would support the bill in a move that left the GOP frustrated. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell previously threatened that if Democrats went forward with the spending bill, the GOP wouldn’t help pass the CHIPS Act, a bill meant to build up U.S. manufacturing competitiveness against China. Shortly after the CHIPS Act passed, Manchin and Schumer announced their deal to pass the spending bill.
Manchin said during an appearance on CNN‘s State of the Union that while Sinema was not included in his one-on-one negotiations with Schumer, he hopes she will be “positive” about the bill. He added that he didn’t bring her or others into it because he didn’t believe the deal would “come to fruition.”
“She’ll make her decision, and I respect that,” he said.
Newsweek reached out to Senator Sinema’s office for comment
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