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Sinema says she will move forward with Senate Democrats' climate, health and tax bill

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) said Thursday that she would "move forward" with Senate Democrats' spending bill to tackle climate change, health care and tax reforms.
J. Scott Applewhite
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) said Thursday that she would "move forward" with Senate Democrats' spending bill to tackle climate change, health care and tax reforms.

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema announced late Thursday she will "move forward" with Democrats' massive climate, prescription drug and spending bill, after party members appeared to reach an agreement about Sinema's concerns with the legislation.

Sinema's announcement all but locks in the bill for Democrats, who need all 50 Democratic votes on board in order for the bill to pass, with a tie-breaker vote from Vice President Harris. The legislation solidifies key portions of President Biden's domestic agenda.

In a statement, Sinema said, "We have agreed to remove the carried interest tax provision, protect advanced manufacturing, and boost our clean energy economy in the Senate's budget reconciliation legislation. Subject to the Parliamentarian's review, I'll move forward."

In recent days, Sinema had expressed concern over the portion of the bill that would narrow the carried interesttax loophole. Democrats say the measure would have added about $14 billion in funding.

In the agreement, Sinema was also able to secure an increase in drought resilience funding and a 1% excise tax on stock buybacks, which would bring in roughly $74 billion, according to a source familiar with the agreement.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement that the agreement reached among Democratic senators maintains major components of the bill.

"I am pleased to report that we have reached an agreement on the Inflation Reduction Act that I believe will receive the support of the entire Senate Democratic conference," Schumer said. "I have had many productive discussions with members of our conference over the past three days and we have addressed a number of important issues they have raised."

Schumer added that the final bill will be introduced Saturday, when the Senate is back in session.

Biden, in a statement late Thursday, said "we've taken another critical step toward reducing inflation and the cost of living for America's families."

"I look forward to the Senate taking up this legislation and passing it as soon as possible," Biden said in a statement from the White House.

The legislation is getting passed through a budget reconciliation process, which circumvents the 60 votes usually needed to pass a bill. The Senate parliamentarian is still combing through the text to make sure the legislation can be voted on through the reconciliation process.

Once the bill gets introduced on the floor — which Schumer says will happen Saturday afternoon — up to 20 hours of debate, split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, will begin.

After debate over the bill ends, the process known as vote-a-rama starts, and senators can introduce as many amendments as they want, a process that typically goes late into the night.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Deepa Shivaram
Deepa Shivaram is a multi-platform political reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.