Sinema Put Manchin in Role of Protecting Bill

Differences on taxes were resolved, allowing passage, though it wasn't easy
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2022 7:25 PM CDT
Sinema Put Manchin in Role of Protecting Bill
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin speaks to reporters last week about the expansive agreement he reached with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on the tax, health care, and climate change legislation.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer negotiated for months on the climate change, health care, and tax legislation that passed the Senate on Sunday. When they finally reached an agreement, they still weren't finished. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema had been left out of the talks, and she didn't like everything in the bill, Politico reports. They needed her vote, so talks began with Sinema suddenly having the leverage over Democratic legislation that Manchin usually has. Democratic colleagues know what that's like. "They both are pains in the neck," said Democratic Sen. John Hickenlooper, "but pains in the neck who I respect."

After he brought down President Biden's Build Back Better legislation in December, Manchin told Schumer that he'd reopen negotiations in April but that he'd only deal with the majority leader. Once Manchin and Sinema went to work on her objections, Schumer tried to help them find common ground, recognizing the differences in the senators, as well. With Manchin, "we argue with each other on issues, but we try to respect each other," Schumer said Sunday after the passage. "Sinema, if she gives you her word, you got it. But she's not a schmoozer like Manchin."

Their differences, mostly over tax provisions, were clear as Manchin and Sinema talked Sunday on the Senate floor. Manchin wanted the wealthy to pay more and agreed with Schumer and other Democrats on changes to the carried interest loophole, which lets some people pay lower tax rates on investment income. Sinema was able to preserve the carried interest provision as is—which Manchin, now defending Democratic legislation, found "painful"—protecting businesses owned by the private equity industry. Generally, the tax policies of the two senators collided: Manchin's progressive preference with Sinema's more business-friendly stance. "We have more in common than we don't," Manchin said. "I just have a difference on this." (More Senate Democrats stories.)

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