Sen. Joe Manchin speaks with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema
Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo
Manchin says he intends to speak to Sinema about the bill he hammered out with Schumer.
He acknowledged cutting out Sinema since he thought the talks could collapse.
“She has a lot in this bill,” Manchin said, referring to Medicare negotiations on drug prices.
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said on Monday that he intends to try and to seal his $740 billion deal with the lone potential Senate Democratic holdout.
The conservative Democrat said he plans to personally pitch Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona on the legislation, as soon as Monday evening on the Senate floor. Without Sinema’s vote, Senate Democrats can’t approve the bill using budget reconciliation, a tactic that requires unanimity among all 50 senators to sidestep GOP opposition.
“She has a lot in this bill. She’s the one that negotiated basically, and no one changed, the Medicare negotiations,” Manchin told reporters, referring to the bill’s provision aimed at cutting prescription drug prices. “She’s been very adamant in this bill on no tax increases. I take that very seriously.”
Manchin also acknowledged shutting her and other Democratic senators out of the delicate negotiations with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, which yielded a breakthrough early last week.
“I haven’t had any conversations with anybody on the process because I wasn’t ever sure that we would get to the finale, to get a completed bill,” he told reporters.
The tables have turned on Manchin. Democrats labored to win his vote most of this year on a slimmer climate, energy, and tax bill and tailored their public messaging to his priorities like cutting the deficit. Now, Manchin is tasking himself with swaying Sinema, who hasn’t commented publicly on the deal that he struck with Schumer. He unveiled it Wednesday through a statement, catching many Democrats by complete surprise.
But he’s the only one trying to win over Sinema. Republican Sen. Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania said on Monday that he plans to speak with the Arizona Democrat sometime this week as well in an effort to sway her to vote against the bill.
“I’m not speculating about what she is going to do, but I do know there are some provisions in this field that she has had reservations in the past,” he told Bloomberg.
A spokesperson for Sinema said she is reviewing the legislative text and is waiting for more guidance from the Senate parliamentarian, the top official overseeing the reconciliation process.
One possible stumbling block is Sinema’s opposition to closing the carried interest loophole, a measure that Manchin has indicated strong support for. Carried interest is the share of profits that hedge-fund managers receive from making lucrative investments. But that compensation is taxed at a lower capital-gains rate that tops out at 23.8% and doesn’t face the higher income tax rate comparable to what Americans pay on their wages.
“It’s been a heck of a run for a long time for the wealthiest people in America,” Manchin said regarding carried interest.
The pair seem to be on a collision course that could further complicate the efforts of Senate Democrats to pass the bill later this week, sending it to the House for final passage. It’s also possible that Sinema demands changes to a 15% corporate minimum tax to scale it back.
The legislation extends financial assistance for people to purchase health coverage under the Affordable Care Act for two more years. In addition, it also contains a wide range of clean energy tax credits meant to transition the US off fossil fuels.