Before the Thanksgiving recess, House Democrats were finally able to pass their version of President Biden’s Build Back Better Act through the process of reconciliation. We took the time to celebrate this action as a step in the right direction for tax fairness and economic equity.
There’s still more work to do, however, as Senate Democrats now need to negotiate their version of the bill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said this week that he wants this to happen before the Christmas recess. Unfortunately, the same two moderate Senators who have been thorns in the side of the rest of the Democratic caucus throughout this whole process – West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and Arizona Senator Krysten Sinema – are threatening to derail the process once again as conservatives cheer them on. Neither Senator has even committed to beginning the process of debating the bill, let alone voting for the actual bill itself.
Democrats in the House had some “wiggle room” to lose a vote or two, but the 50-vote margin for reconciliation is razor-thin for Senate Democrats. This likely means that, unfortunately, Senate Democrats will have to engage in a lot of hair-splitting behind closed doors with Senators Manchin and Sinema in the days ahead.
This week, we’re shining a spotlight on Senators Manchin and Sinema and their role in the negotiations over the Build Back Better agenda.
Pence-linked group launches $800k ad campaign in West Virginia praising Manchin by Joseph Choi
The Coalition to Protect American Workers, run by former Vice President Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short, is launching a two-week, $800k ad campaign in West Virginia to pressure Senator Manchin to oppose Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. Short said in a statement that Manchin “deserves thanks for representing the interests of West Virginia families by slowing reckless spending and massive tax increases.” Needless to say, Short and his group have got it all wrong. The new social spending in the Build Back Better Act isn’t “reckless;” it’ll actually do a great deal to strengthen the economy by improving the economic conditions of millions of Americans through an expanded social safety net. And while there are tax increases in the legislation, they almost exclusively fall on wealthy people like us who should be paying more in taxes and can afford to foot the bill for these new programs.
Krysten Sinema takes a victory lap on infrastructure – but Arizonans say not so fast by Warren H. Stewart Sr. and Kai Newkirk
A few weeks ago, Senator Sinema loudly touted her role in the successful passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill. In the grand scheme of things, however, Sinema has been doing a lot more harm than good in the Senate. Yes, she helped pass the bipartisan infrastructure package, but she’s simultaneously obstructing much more by failing to fully support the Build Back Better Act and provisions such as universal pre-K, paid family leave, extensions of Medicare and Medicaid, and tax increases on the wealthy and corporations. If Sinema truly cared about her Arizonan constituents, she would not hesitate to throw her weight behind the Build Back Better agenda.
G.O.P. Donors Back Manchin and Sinema as They Reshape Biden’s Agenda by Kenneth Vogel and Kate Kelly
In the midst of the debate over Build Back Better, Senators Manchin and Sinema’s campaign coffers are fuller than ever. Sinema raised $2.6 million in the first nine months of 2021, 2.5 times as much as she raised this time last year. Meanwhile, Manchin raised $3.3 million in that same timeframe – 14 times as much as he raised in 2020. Why are Manchin’s and Sinema’s campaigns doing so well this year? Because they’ve found a slew of new GOP and corporate funders who are elated by the role they’ve had in derailing the Build Back Better negotiations. If GOP and corporate donors are tripping over themselves to support you, you’re likely doing something wrong. If Sinema and Manchin don’t realize this soon, their constituents will be forced to hold them accountable during re-election in 2024.
How Manchin and Sinema’s status as Senate holdouts is proving lucrative by David Smith
The recent deluge of campaign contributions from GOP and corporate donors to Senators Manchin and Sinema haven’t gone unnoticed by anti-corruption watchdogs. Groups like Accountable.US and Just Democracy, among others, are growing increasingly concerned that the large campaign sums the two Senators have received are unduly influencing them in the Build Back Better negotiations. Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US, had this to say in response to Manchin’s and Sinema’s actions: “What else but industry money could explain the manufactured excuses for resisting Build Back Better considering it remains extremely popular, is fully paid for, and would cut costs and taxes for most everyday people in Arizona and West Virginia?” We couldn’t agree more. It’s time for Manchin and Sinema to act in the interests of their constituents, not their new GOP and corporate donors, and pass the Build Back Better Act.