Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) refused to commit to supporting a sprawling Democratic climate and spending plan, putting the party’s hopes for an election year breakthrough in serious doubt.
The moderate Democrat was tight-lipped on Wednesday about the grand compromise cut by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) as she arrived at her Capitol Hill office.
“Taking my time,” Sinema said as she speed-walked past reporters camped out in a congressional hallway.
Sinema may want changes: More at The Hill
Sinema’s decision to stay on the fence poses a serious concern for Democrats and the White House because they need the support of all 50 Democratic senators to push the $700 billion measure through on a party-line vote in the evenly split chamber.
She is the only known holdout as Schumer seeks to win final approval for the surprise agreement by the end of the week, a deadline that now looks shaky at best.
Known for taking her time, Sinema says she definitely won’t make any decision about supporting the bill until the Senate parliamentarian rules if all of its provisions can be passed using the complicated reconciliation process that allows the majority party to avert a filibuster.
Sinema also has expressed opposition in the past to two popular planks of the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, namely the move to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and scrapping a tax loophole that mostly benefits wealthy hedge fund managers.
Schumer and Manchin shocked power players on both sides of the partisan aisle by reviving the sprawling deal after the West Virginia lawmaker himself had all but killed it earlier.
The move is seen as a key victory for Democrats heading into the midterm elections.
Republicans have trumpeted their hopes of sweeping victory that would give them control of Congress, but Democrats believe a series of political wins and economic improvements give them a fighting chance of limiting the damage.
Sinema, who prides herself on an independent streak, has previously shown willingness to back Manchin in fights with their party’s leaders. Now Democrats will find out if she will take a lonely stand against them.
©2022 New York Daily News. Visit nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.