Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) has been straightforward and direct when telling the Biden administration what her demands are to support the White House’s proposed budget reconciliation spending bill, which currently carries a price tag of at least $3.5 trillion.
According to a report, a demand that she has consistently made for her even to consider a vote on the reconciliation bill is her insistence that the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill already passed by the Senate be given by the House first.
She has said that she believes that the infrastructure bill should be enacted independently and not linked with the reconciliation bill as the progressives desire. In doing so, she has noted that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has broken promises to get the infrastructure bill before the House.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus has now made it clear that a substantial number of its members will refuse to consider voting for the infrastructure bill before the reconciliation bill is presented for a vote. Regardless of what negotiating may or may not be possible over the spending levels proposed by the reconciliation bill, the primary problem over whether it will be bundled with the infrastructure bill remains in a stalemate.
Sinema has been joined by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) in saying that they will not tolerate further deadlines to vote on the bills, and both have said that the spending contemplated by the reconciliation bill is a non-starter. A big problem for Biden is that the two senators object to different specifics within the massive spending bill.
The two have different objections and different opinions on new taxes. Manchin has said that he would be agreeable with some tax increases, but Sinema is opposed to increases for individuals or large corporations. That objection could reduce the revenue projected under the bill by more than $700 billion and would crush Biden’s repeated promises that the bill is “fully paid for” and will not add to the budget deficit.
With Sinema, the roadblocks appear to now go beyond the dollars involved. She is opposed to the measures progressives are using to circumvent normal legislative processes and their dishonest tactics in repeated “bait-and-switch” promise making. If she sticks to her guns on her commitment to not raise taxes, Joe Biden might be heading back to the drawing board with the “Build Back Better” agenda.