Sinema faces conflicting pressure on Arizona’s Democratic big agenda bill

PHOENIX – Stephen Lumpkin wore a “Trump 2020” T-shirt at a Republican rally on the eve of the Arizona primary, hoping the former president can run again in 2024 and believes, given all the evidence, , he could even be “reinstated” before the next election.

Lumpkin, who is also a fan of Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema, would like to see her vote against her party’s new bill that would fund health care and clean energy with a 15 percent minimum tax on businesses.

“I like her,” said Lumpkin, who lives in Glendale. “I want to see Sinema stop it. It’s just another money grab, that’s all.”

Laura Schroeder, a 54-year-old Phoenix doctor who backed Donald Trump-backed Republican Senator Blake Masters, said she was counting on Sinema to help stop the outbreak. legislation as DW.Va. Sen. Joe Manchin withdraws” and reached a deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“She needed to kill that thing,” Schroeder said.

Arizona Democrats, aware of Sinema’s history of opposing her party, were nervous ahead of the planned legislative action as senators cast a decisive vote in a tie-breaker chamber where all Republicans are expected to oppose the bill. Some people expressed their dissatisfaction with Sinema.

Emily Kirkland, 30, said: “It’s amazing – the fact that she can’t stand up for a bill that would lower the cost of health care, lower the cost of prescription drugs, make a major investment in climate change. A strong ‘yes.'” Tempe-based consultant who works in progressive politics.

‘There is no future in politics as a Democrat’

In Kirkland’s view, Sinema’s eventual vote on the bill will play a decisive role in her 2024 re-election prospects. “It really felt like the ball was on her court,” she said. “If she’s the only ‘no’ vote to let the deal go down, to me that means she knows she has no future politically as a Democrat.”

Remarks like these capture the unique position Sinema finds herself in as she is forced to give the green light or torpedo — or perhaps demand change — the Democrats’ best hope of passing core elements of its agenda. In response, she remained silent on the bill released Wednesday, and her office said she was “reviewing the text” and waiting to see if it would be amended to meet Senate rules.

When asked about the pressure she faced, Sinema spokeswoman Hannah Hurley told NBC News Tuesday: “Senator Sinema makes every decision based on one criterion: what’s best for Arizona.”

The decision could further shape public perceptions of Sinema, a mysterious first-term centrist trying to build a maverick reputation in the swing state. Last year, she sided with the Republican Party, opposing a $15 federal minimum wage and blocking higher taxes on the wealthy. She has all but cut ties with the state Democrats, which in January denounced her for rejecting a Senate rule change to pass a voting rights bill.

A former Sinema aide said the senator “never cared about angering the Democratic base” and even enjoyed being criticized by her party. The former aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation, said Sinema was “stubborn about his position” and liked to be liked by the most conservative Republicans. The former aide further noted that campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical and financial industries hint at why Sinema could be in conflict with the new Democratic bill.

Given that Sinema has not spoken publicly about the legislation, the former aide said, “It is normal to wonder, who is she talking to? Who is she discussing her ideas with?”

After speaking with Sinema on Tuesday, Manchin told reporters in Washington that the two had a “good conversation” — but he did not predict how she would vote on the bill when it goes to the Senate, which Democrats aim to launch this week. bill.

“She will make decisions based on the facts. We are exchanging texts back and forth,” he said. “She’s very smart. She works hard. She makes the right decisions based on the facts. And I’m relying on that.”

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Luis Ávila, a volunteer with Primary Sinema, which is preparing to support her challenge in 2024, claims that if she passes the bill, known as the “Inflation Reduction Act,” the senator will Will “absolutely” lose re-election.

“She’s a megalomaniac who just really wants to make money from special interests and do what’s best for her,” he said. “It’s not our electoral reason.”

But Avila said if Sinema voted for the bill, “of course we’ll make sure voters know.”

“In order for her to regain the trust of voters, she has to show her actions,” he said. “And a really good one is what’s in front of her right now, this deal.”

If she chooses to seek revisions, Sinema will face a different dilemma. One provision in the legislation she opposed — closing the carried interest tax deduction for investment fund managers — is notoriously difficult to defend politically. She conveyed to Democratic leaders last year her desire to keep the tax break, according to multiple sources. But Sinema and her office have not publicly discussed her position.

Andy Surabian, a Republican strategist who advises the Masters-backing super PAC Save Arizona, said “there are some people who are cautiously optimistic” given Sinema’s image as a party supporter .

“I do think that if she supports it without making any changes, that would go against that image,” Surabian said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if she said ‘I’m for 80 or 90 percent, but I want to change the bill’ – so she can maintain that image.”

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