Based on Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s past behavior (her infamous thumbs-down curtsy in the weary faces of America’s working poor immediately comes to mind), I’ve never been sold on the notion that she’ll allow any substantive portion of President Joe Biden’s progressive Build Back Better agenda to pass.
Well, we’re about to find out for sure. Since Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and climate action holdout Sen. Joe Manchin hatched a surprise plan to pull our over-roasted weenies out of the fire at the 11th hour, Sinema has been mum about where she stands on the proposed legislation.
Personally, I think it’s marginally more likely that she’ll glide down toward the Senate floor on a papier-mâché cloud dressed as Glinda the Good Witch, wave her 99-cent Spirit Halloween wand over her regal noodle, and spell out her “no” vote in the air with glitter than actually rubber-stamp the bill. But what do I know? Getting repeatedly stabbed in the abdomen with an increasingly twee series of bespoke Hello Kitty shivs has made me a cynic for some reason.
What’s clear as of this writing, however, is that no one really knows for sure what she’ll do—maybe not even Sinema herself. From Politico:
While all of Washington waits on the Arizona Democrat, her previous treatment of high-profile issues shows she’s unlikely to make any statement about how she sees the deal written by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer — at least until it’s on the floor. If the past is prologue, she’ll also be a wild card on amendments that Republicans may offer in a bid to alter the bill on the Senate floor during votes later this week.
Yes, by all means, make sure you get Republicans’ input on climate action. They’ve been such leaders on the issue, and it would be a sin to leave them out in the cold—erm, globe-withering heat.
At the center of the Sinematic intrigue is Manchin’s push to narrow a loophole known as carried interest that some investors use to lower their tax rates, a shrinking that she opposes. A mask-clad Manchin spoke to Sinema on the Senate floor for roughly 10 minutes on Tuesday afternoon, animatedly waving his hands during the hushed discussion. He summed it up as a “nice talk” afterward and said “she’ll make a good decision based on facts, and I’m relying on that.”
She’s about as likely to make a “good decision based on facts” as she is to make an incomprehensible decision based on a box of gourmet peanut brittle the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sends her two hours before the vote. Of course, Manchin wasn’t the only senator bending Sinema’s ear on Tuesday. Keen observers also witnessed this exchange:
Good Lord. Imagine how rotten your soul has to be to be susceptible to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s charms.
For the record, congressional Democrats, who know a lot more about legislative sausage-making than I do, are projecting confidence in their ability to drag this bill over the finish line.
“I’m going to approach it from the positive side and just say I anticipate Sen. Sinema will be on board,” said Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana.
I sure hope he’s right, and to be honest, I’m cautiously optimistic—to the point where I feel like I can postpone the down payment on my space ark chamber with free cable and Wi-Fi-compatible OLED apocalypse cam for another few weeks or so.
That said, if you’d like to see the Democrats establish a Sinema-proof Senate majority, there are steps you can take. Volunteer to send letters to voters, or contribute to Democratic candidates up and down the ballot. And most of all: Remember to vote!
Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.
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