Sen. Kyrsten Sinema says she shared concerns on budget bill with White House, Schumer

Sinema walks to her office/From video/Brenda Rivas/Cronkite News

By Yvonne Wingett Sanchez | Arizona Republic

Amid partisan brinksmanship over President Joe Biden’s budget reconciliation proposal, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s office said Thursday the president and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have known her budget priorities and concerns for weeks. 

Sinema, a moderate Democrat and crucial vote in the divided Senate, said months ago she opposed the initial $3.5 trillion proposal by Senate Democrats. She has declined to provide a top-line dollar figure, saying she was more focused on proposed spending for individual buckets of funding than an overall figure. She has been meeting with Biden, White House negotiators and Schumer for weeks about the proposal.

Her objections to the price tag and other provisions to a bill that includes universal pre-K and paid family leave have amped up pressure for her to articulate publicly exactly what she wants to see in the budget reconciliation proposal, which is packed with progressive policies and can pass with a simple majority in the divided Senate. 

While Sinema has remained vague publicly about her top-line figure, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., told reporters Thursday that he has insisted on a package costing no more than $1.5 trillion. 

“Senator Sinema said publicly more than two months ago, before Senate passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, that she would not support a bill costing $3.5 trillion,” a statement from her spokesman John LaBombard said. “In August, she shared detailed concerns and priorities, including dollar figures, directly with Senate Majority Leader Schumer and the White House.”

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