The Sausage Making: Okay, The Friday Deadline Was A Pipe Dream

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 19: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks on the phone. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
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October 21, 2021 7:03 p.m.

So, the Senate will not be reaching a decision on the reconciliation framework by tomorrow. Many of the senators are likely already home, with no votes scheduled until Monday.

But things continue to progress. There are still skirmishes playing out on various fronts: the child tax credit, climate provisions, Medicare expansion, payfors. And despite them, the package still appears to be moving forward.

Gossip We Are Taking With A Grain Of Salt

  • You’ve probably seen the “will Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) switch parties” brouhaha. He seems to be enjoying the story, thundering to reporters that it’s “bullshit” one day, only to acknowledge that he has brought it up (to resounding nos from the Democrats) the next.
  • Manchin enjoys being in the spotlight. (A spotlight he loses if he’s not a key member of the party currently in power — just something to keep in mind.) 
  • The greatest showman from West Virginia told Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) with gusto that he’d be happy with no money at all in the reconciliation package, according to an Axios report. That is probably true, but it’s hard to imagine he’d hang in the negotiations for this long if he was going to act on that compulsion.
  • Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) has agreed to enough various revenue streams to pay for a package the size of which is currently being discussed (in the $2 trillion neighborhood, maybe just under), according to multiple reports. The language is weird and anonymously sourced, but we’re keeping our eye on this. 

Potential Problems 

  • Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), as he previewed to a group of us this morning, may be taking some potential revenue streams off the table, per a new letter he sent to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). 
  • Some Democrats are trying to make the child tax credit permanently fully refundable, but Manchin is proving an obstacle. We expect to have more info for you on this soon.

The Unique Manchin-Sinema Problem

  • The irony of these negotiations is that Manchin and Sinema often disagree with each other, making it very hard to appease both. Manchin is all for tax reform — up to a point, at least — when it comes to the wealthy and corporations. Sinema is not. Sinema is all for a carbon tax. Manchin is not. 
  • That being said, the non-Manchinema senators are equally sick of answering questions about the both of them, I can attest. 
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