Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., told a CNN reporter that she would not answer several key questions about how she may vote, or what she would accept in the Democrats’ $1.75 trillion ‘Build Back Better’ budget reconciliation bill.
CNN reporter Lauren Fox asked Sinema if there was a version of the bill that she could vote “yes” for, or what changes she would like to see made to get her to support the legislation, to which Sinema replied that she does not “negotiate in the press,” Breitbart reported.
“Folks know I don’t negotiate in the press,” she told Fox. “I’m not going to do that with you.”
Sinema, as well as Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., are vital votes for the Democrats in the evenly spilt Senate where they need all 48 party members to agree as well as two independents to bring about a 50-50 vote so that Democrat Vice President Kamala Harris can cast the tie-breaking vote, moving the legislation forward.
The bill, which was initially introduced as social infrastructure legislation costing $3.5 trillion, has been scaled back to $1.75 trillion, passing the House 220-213 on Nov. 19 with all Republicans voting against the measure, Politico reported.
“We’ll be telling our children and grandchildren that we were here this day,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said following the vote.
The bill contains several key Democratic agenda items like expanding healthcare, providing paid family leave, and several components of the Green New Deal to combat climate change.
Moderate Democrats Sinema and Manchin, however, are not as quick to join fellow Democrats in supporting the plan.
During the CNN interview, Sinema said she is sticking to what she promised voters in Arizona during her 2018 campaign, to independently vote on issues that make their lives better, and that she is willing to take criticism for that.
“I don’t really spend much time thinking about what other people are saying publicly. What I really want to focus on is how to get to a solution and solve a problem that matters to everyday folks in Arizona,” she said. “And people back home in Arizona know that I am committed to ensuring that any legislation we pass retains America’s competitiveness.
“So, I won’t support any legislation that increases burdens on Arizonan or American businesses and decreases our ability to compete either domestically or globally. So, I want to be sure that if we are crafting legislation, we’re doing it in a lean and efficient way that’s fiscally responsible and doesn’t impact things like inflation or make our businesses less competitive.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said that he believes the budget reconciliation bill containing the ‘Build Back Better’ items will be passed by the Senate by Christmas.
“The [Build Back Better plan] is very important to America, we believe it’s very popular with Americans, we aim to pass it before Christmas,” Schumer told reporters Nov. 16, CNBC reported.
If passed by the Senate, the bill would return to the House for another vote before being sent to President Joe Biden to sign.