The vote-a-rama “is going to start later than we imagine, it’s going to last longer than we hoped and it will be more painful to get out of here than any of us have reason to. to be expected,” Sen said. Chris Coons (D-Del.).
Coons said he did not expect the bill to undergo any significant changes, although “Sinema will of course have some changes that she requests that reflect her priorities in her state.” He said he had three discussions with her so far about the bill.
The looming weekend session is a microcosm of the perpetual uncertainty hanging over the longest-running 50-50 Senate in history: Democrats need every vote on their side because the possibility of absences related to Covid looms over the number of whips, Republicans actually have limited leverage, and the nonpartisan Senate rules arbiter maintains significant influence over their agenda.
The arbiter, officially known as the parliamentarian, will continue to hear arguments over whether the bill meets the chamber’s strict rules for escaping a buccaneer. A decision on prescription drugs could come as soon as Friday, with tax provisions coming after.
Democrats are seeking to ensure their legislation can benefit from budget obstruction protections before doing anything on the ground, according to a person familiar with the process. That timing led Schumer to announce the expected motion on Saturday to proceed with the bill.
Manchin and Sinema spoke at length in the Senate on Thursday afternoon, with Manchin occasionally becoming animated during the discussion. The West Virginian declined to comment on the conversation afterward.
His the legislation would spend $369 billion on energy and climate change, extend Obamacare subsidies through 2024, order Medicare to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs, and send about $300 billion to the deficit reduction. It would be funded, in part, by a 15% minimum corporate tax on large corporations and increased IRS enforcement.
Parliamentarian still needs to review updated Democrat prescription drug wording as well as package tax provisions, including tax credits for electric vehicles. Those arguments will take place on Friday, according to a Democratic aide. Legislation by Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) to reduce the cost of insulin is included in the prescription drug provision, but is likely to be opposed by Republicans.
“Regardless of the parliamentarian’s decision, ultimately the only way it doesn’t happen is if someone on the other side raises an objection,” Warnock said. “Only politics can block that.”
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee met with the Senate rules arbiter on Wednesday, in part to consider a proposed fee for oil and gas companies that exceed a certain level of methane emissions, according to a second Democratic aide. The bill also provides grants to help companies pay for technologies that prevent methane emissions.
And then there are the changes Sinema wants, including removing a provision that would narrow the interest-bearing loophole for certain investment income, which would bring in $14 billion in revenue, and add about $5 billion. drought resistance. Republicans are hoping Sinema will push for further changes to the 15% minimum corporate tax for large corporations, which she helped negotiate last year, though it’s a major chunk of the bill’s revenue and may prove difficult to change under tight deadlines.
When asked if he was talking about changes to the carefully crafted minimum corporate tax, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said senators want the congressman to consider the tax legislation as it was drafted before making subsequent amendments. Sinema specifically said she wanted the parliamentary review to take place before deciding on the bill.
“What we’ve been told is there’s an interest in waiting for the parliamentarian’s judgment, so that’s where we are,” Wyden said.
Between Sinema and the congressman, Democrats expect some tweaks to their long-awaited bill, but don’t see any major changes coming — yet.
“I’m not inside Sinema’s head and I don’t know how these discussions are going,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said. “But it’s going to be basically what it is. It’s going to attack the climate in a significant way, it’s going to affect drug prices. This will close some tax loopholes. I hope many of them.