As Democrats try to pass a $3.5 trillion spending plan, one Democratic woman might just stand in their way. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) says she does not back the high price tag. “I have also made clear that while I will support beginning this process, I do not support a bill that costs $3.5 trillion” Sinema said in a written statement to The Arizona Republic.
The Senator says she has told Senate leadership and President Biden that she supports many of its goals such as job growth and American competitiveness. “And in the coming months, I will work in good faith to develop this legislation with my colleagues and the administration to strengthen Arizona’s economy and help Arizona’s everyday families get ahead” she added.
Sinema’s position has drastic consequences for the budget reconciliation bill which is a crucial component of Biden’s “human infrastructure” agenda which includes expanding Medicare and caregiving for the disabled and elderly, funding universal pre-kindergarten and paying for climate change initiatives.
With a split chamber in the Senate, all 50 Democrats would have to vote for the bill, after which Vice President Kamala Harris would deliver the tie-breaking vote. “Sinema’s reservations with the overall budget bill, along with those of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., suggests Democrats won’t have the votes to pass the more expansive plan forcing Democrats to scale back the bill” reports the Arizona Republic.
“While bringing both parties together can seem impossible these days, Arizonans elected me to do the hard work” her statement continued. “Our historic legislation would make the strongest investment in America’s critical infrastructure in a century – creating Arizona jobs, expanding economic opportunities for our state, securing our water future, and protecting our communities from wildfires.”
Sinema’s position was released the same day she and Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio announced a breakthrough on a separate $1.2 trillion bipartisan public works infrastructure plan. The Republic reports Sinema met with Biden at the White House on Tuesday to brief him on the efforts, and she and 10 Democratic and Republican lawmakers sought to work through sticking points such as levels of funding for transit, broadband and water systems.