On Sunday, after a marathon series of votes and more than a year of planning and negotiations, Senate Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act — their signature bill that would address climate change and work to lower prescription drug costs. medicines.
All 50 Democrats and Vice President Kamala Harris voted to pass the bill after a marathon series of amendment votes known as “votes-a-rama.” The bill now heads to the House of Representatives, where it will likely face a fast-track vote later this week. If signed, it would be the largest investment to fight climate change in US history.
While it still faces a vote in the House, its passage in the Senate was always going to be tougher given the fact that Democrats have only 50 senators and conservative Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona had strong objections in various quarters . of the proposed legislation.
With that in mind, here are four big winners and two big losers after this weekend’s voting.
Winner: President Joe Biden
The passage of the legislation is a clear victory for Mr. Biden, especially as he has made combating climate change a key part of both his domestic and international agenda. The vote comes as Biden has had a string of bipartisan achievements, including passing an infrastructure bill, a gun law and legislation to support semiconductor manufacturing in the United States. But all of that was bipartisan and not part of the bold agenda Mr. Biden promised he would push through when media reports suggested he would be the next Franklin Roosevelt. By passing this legislation, he is showing that he is serious about both addressing climate change and lowering prescription drug prices. Mr. Biden’s approval rating has fallen dramatically over the past year, and while that’s no guarantee his numbers will improve, it does justify his track record: some show he can make deals with Republicans, others show he knows when to steer clear bipartisanship.
Lost: Senator Bernie Sanders
The victories of Democratic Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in Georgia in 2021 made the Vermont Independent and former presidential candidate chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Mr Sanders had originally hoped to pass a $6 trillion program through the budget deal – which allows legislation to pass with a simple majority as long as it is budget-related. However, the legislation was eventually negotiated to $3.5 trillion before falling back to $1.75 trillion before Mr Manchin pulled out of negotiations in December. Ultimately, Mr. Sanders was excluded as negotiations resumed directly between Mr. Schumer and Mr. Manchin. In turn, the self-described democratic socialist ended up trying to propose amendments on the floor during the impromptu vote, but almost all Democrats rejected them because they wanted to make sure he didn’t change the deal and alienate one from the other. members. Likewise, when Mr. Sanders said in a speech “it’s actually going to have little effect on inflation,” Republicans he repeated his words. Sanders began this process as one of the most influential senators in someone who had almost no influence.
Winner: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
Throughout Mr. Schumer’s tenure as Senate minority leader, he has often been compared to either his Republican counterpart Mitch McConnell, a man known for his absolute ruthlessness in wielding power without regard to public opinion, or Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, often considered the best pollster in Washington. Likewise, since taking office, Mr. Schumer has had a string of purely executive votes that have failed to overcome a Republican filibuster and failed to persuade Mr. Manchin and Ms. Sinema to change their minds about the 60-vote limit . But by passing the Deflation Act, Mr. Schumer can argue that he can pull together a coalition as diverse as Bernie Sanders and Joe Manchin. Moreover, aside from a few occasional blips, the Democratic caucus held the line to make sure the Republicans didn’t include any poison pills. One example of Republicans getting overconfident comes from…
Defeated: Senate Minority Whip John Thune
The Republican whip is often seen as a possible successor to Mr McConnell. Accordingly, he also enjoys a warm relationship with Kyrsten Sinema. However, toward the end of the “vote-a-rama,” Mr. Thune pulled a really bold student where he tried to create an exemption from the Democrats’ proposed 15 percent minimum corporate tax for subsidiaries of private funds and hoped to pay for it by continuing the cap on state and local taxes imposed by the Trump tax cuts, according to Business Insider. Mr. Thune had hoped to lure Ms. Sinema with the amendment, which would have pushed back House Democrats from New York and New Jersey who oppose the cap. In the end, Ms. Sinema, along with six other Democrats, voted in favor of the amendment. But Democrats replaced it with an amendment by Sen. Mark Warner. Mr. Thune’s attempt to get Ms. Sinema to vote for a poison pill that could kill the entire bill proved he didn’t think about how Democrats would react, and shows he doesn’t yet have the teeth of the man with the nickname ” Cocaine Mitch”.
Winner: Senator Joe Manchin
The West Virginia Democrat’s name might well have become a blasphemy after he killed Build Back Better, their original proposed social spending legislation, last year. Many may find him endlessly frustrating. But in his deal with Mr. Schumer, he showed that he could get to “yes” and that he was willing to be a team, even voting against all proposed Republican amendments during the “vote-a-rama.” While many Democrats may dislike that the legislation is significantly less in price than Build Back Better, it shows that he can be negotiated with and can be a willing partner under the right circumstances. Paradoxically, Mr. Sanders’ objections probably helped Mr. Manchin sell the bill because it meant he could create some light between Mr. Sanders and himself as moderates. He he even saidThe independent, “This is not Bernie’s bill.”
Defeated: Senator Kyrsten Sinema
While Mr. Manchin was often open about his reservations about the legislation — even sometimes disagreeing with himself on various aspects of what eventually became the Deflation Act — Ms. Sinema often left colleagues her in the dark. Ms. Sinema often refuses to speak to the press, preferring to speak directly to negotiators. But she sent much of the Democratic conference into a frenzy when she expressed her openness to Mr. Thune’s amendment. Similarly, progressive Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego — who has said he’s interested in mounting a primary challenge against her in 2024 — made noise about her decision to keep what he saw as a tax break for private equity firms. That forced Democrats like Mr. Schumer, Mr. Warner and Senator Elizabeth Warren into overtime. At one point, Ms. Cinema seemed to be more focused on her phone than her colleagues. At the end of the vote, however, it seemed all was forgiven as she embraced many of her Democratic colleagues. But it is quite possible that she violated their trust and opened herself up to a primary challenge.