Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) cast severe doubt Monday on Democratic plans to pass the second part of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan as a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill in the Senate. She said that she would not support the bill.
Sinema worked along with several other senators, both Democrat and Republican, drafting and passing with 69 votes a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill earlier this month. This smaller bill is part of Biden’s package, which was expected to garner enough Republican votes to meet the 60-vote threshold required to circumvent the Senate filibuster rule.
She said in a statement that the first bill should be considered independently of the more extensive account to come and on its own merits alone. A spokesperson for Sinema told Politico on Monday that no matter how the House decides to proceed with either infrastructure bill, she will not support the larger bill as a budget reconciliation measure.
Using the reconciliation procedure in the Senate bypasses the traditional filibuster rule, which means the larger bill could potentially pass with no Republican votes. That would require the bill to be admitted as a budgetary measure as opposed to ordinary legislation. It would also need all 50 Democratic Senators to vote for it along with the vote of Vice President Kamala Harris as the tiebreaker.
Sinema joined moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) in supporting the Senate framework for the Democratic budget proposal earlier this month. Democrats have expressed hope that both will help the president’s larger infrastructure bill via reconciliation as well.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faces difficulty negotiating with a group of centrist Democrat Representatives. They disagree with her about putting the brakes on the infrastructure bill until the budget has been moved forward.
The small, moderate group wants to see the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed and signed into law by the president before other spending measures are taken up. It places them at odds with Pelosi and progressive Democrats who want to vote on the spending plan before the advanced bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Politico also reports that the centrist Democrats opposing Pelosi in the House have reportedly consulted with Sinema and Manchin about supporting the bipartisan bill before new spending is addressed.