Democrats' climate and health care bill on track after Kyrsten Sinema signs on, with small modifications

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Kyrsten Sinema, Patty Murray
Kyrsten Sinema, Patty Murray Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc/ Getty Image

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Thursday night that the Senate will begin voting on the Inflation Reduction Act on Saturday afternoon after the final Democratic holdout, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), announced she is prepared to "move forward" on the major energy, climate, health care, and tax package. Because they are trying to pass the bill through the filibuster-proof budge reconciliation process, Democrats need all 50 members of their caucus on board.

If the Senate approves the bill over the weekend, the House could clear it next week. "Final congressional approval of the election-year measure would complete an astounding, 11th-hour salvation of [President] Biden's wide-ranging domestic goals, though in more modest form," The Associated Press reports.

Sinema said late Thursday that she had secured changes to the package "to remove the carried interest tax provision, protect advanced manufacturing, and boost our clean energy economy," and that "subject to the parliamentarian's review, I'll move forward." She reportedly secured about $5 billion for drought relief and other climate resiliency funds. The Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, is expected to adjudicate the final sections of the legislation on Friday, ruling out provisions that run afoul of reconciliation rules by the time voting starts on Saturday.

Stripping out the "carried interest" loophole, which lets hedge fund and private equity managers pay lower taxes, would reduce the legislation's $739 billion in new revenue by about $14 billion, and changes Sinema is asking for to the 15 percent minimum corporate tax could cut another $40 billion in revenue, Politico reports. But Democrats are adding in a 1 percent excise tax on stock buybacks by corporations, bringing in $73 billion, Politico adds, citing a Democrat familiar with the deal, meaning the new legislation will reduce the deficit by more than the $300 billion in the original deal.

Schumer, who secretly negotiated the overarching deal with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), said he believes the final legislation "will receive the support of the entire Senate Democratic conference." Whatever small changes are made to the bill before it clears the Senate, "it's going to be fundamentally what it is," said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). "It's going to address climate in a significant way, it's going to affect drug prices. It's going to close some tax loopholes. I hope a lot of them."

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