The Big News last night was that Kyrsten Sinema agreed to the Schumer-Manchin reconciliation bill, with some changes.
To win Ms. Sinema’s support, Democratic leaders agreed to drop a $14 billion tax increase on some wealthy hedge fund managers and private equity executives that she had opposed, change the structure of a 15 percent minimum tax on corporations, and include drought money to benefit Arizona.
This is what Ed Kilgore predicted a few days ago. “While Sinema may not want to personally kill this heaven-sent deal herself, it would be surprising if she doesn’t take at least a pound of flesh in concessions to show her corporate friends she is still a major player,” Ed Kilgore writes. Looks like he was spot on.
Sinema (and, for that matter, Schumer) seems to have calculated that liberal revulsion over the price she demanded for her support would be more than offset by joy that she didn’t kill the whole thing. So Senate Democrats went along with her demand (they also added some additional drought money, while offsetting the cost of concessions to Sinema via an excise tax on stock buybacks). That means on paper, at least, the Inflation Reduction Act has the 50 votes it will need (along with Kamala Harris’s tie-breaker) to finally emerge from the upper chamber.
There are still some hurdles. The parliamentarian has to sign off on the bill before it can be voted on as a budget reconciliation bill, without having to deal with the filibuster/cloture rule. Then it has to be subjected to the “vote a rama” process in which many senators will offer amendments. And then it has to pass the House, where the usual assholes, a.k.a. “moderate” Democrats, will probably try to bleep it up by adding other things that will require it to go back to the Senate.
But if it does pass, it would be a great thing both for the nation and for the Democrats’ chances in the midterms. The bill contains $369 billion to combat climate change, and a lot of that investment will go to creating “green energy” manufacturing jobs. Greg Sargent writes,
At its core, the bill constitutes industrial policy that would invest in the creation of clean-energy manufacturing jobs, including in former coal communities. As I’ve argued, this would allow Democrats to shift the debate: Rebuilding jobs in the industrial and Appalachian heartlands requires accepting realities of global warming and technological change — and harnessing them to our advantage — rather than remaining mired in backward-looking nostalgic fantasies.
In other words, when Republicans oppose the bill, Dems can honestly say they’re trying to stifle job creation.
The bill also extends the expanded Affordable Care Act subsidies through 2025. Otherwise they would have expired right before the midterms, I understand.
It also includes some provision for Medicare to negotiate drug prices, but only some drugs, and it doesn’t kick into effect until 2026.
Still, this is a big deal, and it could be voted on very soon. Fingers crossed.