The two efforts, paired together, represent Biden’s jobs and families plan. And her statement is both good news and bad news for Democrats. On one hand, it shows she will help pass a budget before the August recess. On the other, it shows that Democrats have to eventually further slim their ambitions as they seek to finish Biden’s agenda via budget reconciliation, which requires only a simple majority in the Senate.
Sinema’s statement provoked instant outrage from progressive House Democrats. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted: “Good luck tanking your own party’s investment on childcare, climate action, and infrastructure while presuming you’ll survive a 3 vote House margin.” And Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) said “without a reconciliation package that meets this moment, I’m a no on this bipartisan deal” negotiated by Sinema.
The budget bill will simply direct committees to begin writing reconciliation spending legislation that can evade a GOP filibuster, as Democrats seek to raise taxes on the wealthy and vastly expand paid leave and child care and fight climate change. The final spending bill will ultimately not pass either chamber until this fall as the Senate labors to finish Sinema’s bipartisan bill and Congress’ August recess approaches.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has not explicitly weighed in on the $3.5 trillion proposal. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), another moderate, has said he’ll support the budget but that doesn’t mean he’s a lock on the final product. Senate Democrats need lockstep unity to pass anything.
And Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has made clear Sinema’s bill won’t come to the House floor until that reconciliation bill passes the Senate.