Democrats deal with Sen. Joe Manchin raises new question: What about Sen. Kyrsten Sinema?

Sen. Joe Manchin (left) surprised Washington by backing a wish list targeting climate change and health care finances. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz could have reservations about at least one facet of the bill.

.By Ronald J. Hanse | Arizona Republic

Senators barely had finished passing a bipartisan bill to boost semiconductor production in the U.S. Wednesday when Democrats got word of another potential legislative lift: Sen. Joe Manchin surprised Washington by backing a wish list targeting climate change and health care finances.

Manchin, D-W.Va., seemed to torpedo a slimmed-down version of President Joe Biden’s climate and health agenda weeks earlier, but announced his approval of a revised $433 billion plan with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

In an evenly divided Senate, Manchin’s support brings the plan closer to possible passage, though even one Democratic defection could still sink the plan. Because of that, all eyes quickly turned to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., who could have reservations about at least one facet of the plan.

Hannah Hurley, a Sinema spokesperson, declined to comment, noting they had not yet seen specifics of the bill.   

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is now supporting a Democratic spending plan, bringing attention back to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema who has not released her opinion.

The latest plan could put the focus back on Sinema, who helped broker a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan into law last year, helped thwart Biden’s Build Back Better plan when its price tag topped $3.5 trillion in 2021, and helped form the bipartisan coalition that passed changes to gun sales and mental health resources in June.    

Sinema isn’t the only potential hurdle. The deal would not expand tax deductions for state and local taxes. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., quickly reiterated an interest in changing that because the issue affects many coastal residents, where property values and taxes are much higher.

The tentative Manchin deal, cast as a series of investments to combat inflation, needs to maintain solid Democratic support and must be deemed acceptable to the Senate parliamentarian to pass on a party-line, simple majority.

If it does, as it stands it would include new spending on mitigating climate change and spurring new, clean energy production. 

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