On The Money — All eyes on Sinema with Biden plan in the balance

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The biggest suspense story in Washington, D.C., has everything to do with a certain senator from Arizona. We’ll also look at the budget impact of the Schumer-Manchin deal and hard times for renters

But first, the Senate has voted to expand NATO.

Welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. For The Hill, we’re Sylvan LaneAris Folley and Karl Evers-Hillstrom. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

Sinema leaves Democrats in suspense

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) has Democrats and Republicans on the edge of their seats.

With the clock ticking down to the August recess, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) desperately wants to pass a bill that would tackle climate change and make significant changes to the tax code. But Schumer doesn’t have the votes — at least not yet.

  • Schumer says he’s working on Sinema and hopes she’ll be a “yes” on the motion to proceed to the measure, but the Arizona centrist hasn’t said whether she backs it.  

  • Seven days later after the bill was introduced, Senate Democrats still don’t know where Sinema stands. Her office says she is reviewing the legislation and waiting for the Senate parliamentarian’s review of the text.  

  • That means senators may not know how Sinema will vote until they bring the more than 700-page bill to the floor on Thursday or Friday.

The Hill’s Alexander Bolton has more here

Read more: GOP targets Sinema while going all out to block Democratic bill

LORD HAVE MERCY 

How landlords are evading taxes and fueling the housing crisis

Opaque ownership laws that make it easier for property owners to avoid paying taxes are compounding a national housing crisis fueled by inflation and a shortage of low- and moderate-income homes.

  • Limited liability companies — or LLCs — are a common way for landlords to own the real estate on which they can charge rents.  

  • But LLCs often hide the identities of the people that stand behind them, allowing property owners to be shielded from legal consequences when they fail to pay their property taxes.

Properties can then go into tax foreclosure and be effectively taken off the market in cities where housing is in short supply, further driving up prices and forcing renters to live far away from where they work.

Studies have “linked LLC ownership to property disinvestment, tax abandonment, even completely walking away from properties,” Princeton sociology professor Matthew Desmond told the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Tuesday.

“One of the landlords I spent time with in Milwaukee, I asked her, ‘What happened to this house that I spent a lot of time with?’ And she said, ‘I just gave it back to the city.’ And what she meant was, she just stopped paying taxes on it and let it go into tax foreclosure,” Desmond said.

The Hill’s Tobias Burns has more here.

BIDEN ON A BUDGET 

Democrats’ plan would decrease deficit by more than $100B: CBO

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Wednesday released estimates for Democrats’ sprawling reconciliation plan, forecasting the legislation would lead to a net deficit decrease of more than $100 billion over roughly the next decade, far less than had been initially projected.

The estimates from the nonpartisan budget scorekeeper come as Democrats are moving quickly to pass the mammoth bill, dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act, later this week.

The CBO’s estimates projected the tax, healthcare and climate plan would reduce the deficit between 2022-2031 by more than $101 billion.

Here’s more from The Hill’s Aris Folley.

Good to Know

Industry lobbying could imperil a comprehensive privacy bill that would fundamentally shift the way companies collect user data online.

Since its introduction in June, the American Data Privacy and Protection Act has been one of the most lobbied bills in Congress, drawing attention from more than
180 corporate clients, including Amazon, Disney and Target, according to data from research group OpenSecrets.

Here’s what else we have our eye on:

  • The West Virginia Coal Association and several other state-based coal industry groups on Wednesday blasted the tax and climate deal that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) agreed to last week, warning it will “severely threaten American coal” and an estimated 381,000 jobs.   

  • The Department of Transportation proposed a new rule on Wednesday that clarifies when airlines owe passengers refunds as part of an effort to strengthen refund enforcement.

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s Finance page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.

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