From The Daily Beast:
The Arizona Democratic Party passed a resolution Saturday promising a no-confidence vote against Sen. Kyrsten Sinema if she refuses to back filibuster reforms or votes against President Biden’s Build Back Better reconciliation bill. The Arizona Democratic Party State Committee noted in a statement that despite a whopping 91 percent of members calling for the elimination of the filibuster, which they refer to as a “Jim Crow relic,” the Arizona senator continues to ignore her party’s pleas to pass voting rights legislation under the guise of “bipartisanship.” The committee wrote that they want Sen. Sinema to be successful, but if she “continues to delay, disrupt, or vote to gut the Reconciliation Package of its necessary funding,” they will “go officially on record and will give Senator Sinema a vote of NO CONFIDENCE.”
“The Arizonans who did the work to elect Sinema have had enough of her betraying the voters who put her in office. It’s time for her to show the bare minimum of accountability and stop obstructing the agenda that Democrats, including her, campaigned on and were elected to deliver. Sinema is setting her political future on fire. If she doesn’t change course drastically and soon, it will be too late,” Kai Newkirk, a Democratic organizer in Arizona, told The Daily Beast.
Click here to read the full text of the resolution.
Here’s what’s going on right now:
Opposition from a single moderate Democrat to corporate and income tax rate increases has revived efforts in the Senate to draft a tax on carbon dioxide pollution as a way to pay for the Democrats’ proposed $3.5 billion budget bill.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona has not advocated for a carbon tax, which President Biden and other key Democrats have shied away from as a huge political risk. But her resistance to tax rate increases to pay for the Democrats’ ambitious social policy and climate legislation has set off a scramble for alternatives, including a carbon tax, international corporate tax changes and closing loopholes for businesses that pay through the individual income tax system.
Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, confirmed that the Senate majority leader had asked him to craft legislation that would put a price on carbon emissions but to ensure that the policy would respect Mr. Biden’s pledge not to raise taxes on families earning less than $400,000.
That could be done with some kind of rebate or “carbon dividend” to help taxpayers as the country transitions from gasoline-powered vehicles to electric cars and trucks and from coal- and natural gas-fired electric power plants to renewable energy, Mr. Wyden said. Rebates would mean less revenue available from the carbon tax to pay for other elements of the package.
“We’ve got a lot of members who care very deeply about this,” Mr. Wyden said, citing Senators Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico.
But other senators and Senate aides have confirmed the driver at the moment is Ms. Sinema, the iconoclastic Arizonan whose inscrutable policy positions in an evenly divided Senate can wreak havoc on Democratic plans. She has already said she cannot back a budget plan that spends $3.5 trillion, though she has not said what price tag she can support. Now her position on taxation has Democrats scrambling.
In an interview with The Arizona Republic published on Thursday evening, Ms. Sinema said that climate change was a major concern that drives her approach to the spending bill.
“In Arizona, we’re all too familiar with the impacts of a changing climate … from increasing wildfires to the severe droughts, to shrinking water levels at Lake Mead, damage to critical infrastructure — these are all the things that we’re dealing with in Arizona every day,” she said. “We know that a changing climate costs Arizonans. And right now, we have the opportunity to pass smart policies to address it — looking forward to that.”
THE DARK-MONEY GROUP No Labels remains optimistic that it has been able to delink the bipartisan infrastructure bill away from the larger reconciliation package that includes the bulk of the Biden agenda, with the possibility of outright killing the bigger bill still in play, according to a note sent by the group’s executive director to its donors.
“It is now clear that the reconciliation package will be delinked in time from the infrastructure bill and will be less than $3.5 trillion (if it passes at all), in theory making support from House Republicans for the infrastructure bill more likely,” the email from Margaret White reads.
The message goes on to applaud Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema for her relentless fight on their behalf.
The reconciliation package includes major investments in combating climate change, support for child care and elder care, and expansion of Medicaid and Medicare, among a host of other policy advances. But major donors to No Labels stand to see significant tax hikes to offset those costs if the reconciliation package becomes law. The House Ways and Means Committee approved $2.9 trillion in new taxes on the rich over the next decade.
Progressives have insisted that both packages go together so that centrists don’t simply notch a victory on the bipartisan bill and then turn around and kill the more expansive piece of legislation. Centrists have claimed that progressive fears of such a betrayal are unfounded and that while they also support the Biden agenda, they simply want to approve the bipartisan infrastructure bill as quickly as possible. Those assurances lose credibility each time the financial backers of the centrist Democrats celebrate the possibility they may be able to kill reconciliation, even if they do so in semi-private.
In White’s email, she acknowledged that her group was short of the votes needed to pass the bipartisan legislation on Monday, because progressives have vowed to oppose it until the reconciliation package is on President Joe Biden’s desk. “The biggest warning sign is on the left, where the Progressive Caucus leadership continues to object to the delinkage and claims they have the votes to kill the infrastructure bill, leading them to suggest Speaker Pelosi should cancel the vote or risk embarrassment,” White wrote. “In the post-Brexit, post-Trump, free-agent, populist era in which we live now, don’t assume that Speaker Pelosi and President Biden can definitely deliver the votes on the left.”
“This only reinforces that No Labels is not only No Values but now also No Clue,” said Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis.
If you’re on of Sinema’s constituents in Arizona, she needs to hear from you. Click here to contact her office and demand she stop blocking President Biden’s agenda and carve out the filibuster to protect voting rights.