sen. Kyrsten Sinema signed sweeping Democratic legislation on Thursday that would bring in new spending to mitigate climate change and increase access to health care while taxing businesses.
The Arizona Democrat’s announcement likely unlocks the votes needed to pass the bill in the Senate.
Sinema said her support came after Democratic leaders agreed to scrap a provision closing the so-called “carry interest tax loophole” that would allow wealthy hedge fund and investment managers to pay lower taxes.
“We have agreed to remove the provision for the carried forward interest tax, protect advanced manufacturing and boost our clean energy economy in the Senate budget alignment legislation,” Sinema said in a statement on Thursday. “Subject to the MP’s assessment, I will move on.”
Her comments on the bill, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, came after a week-long lull that made many Democrats nervous that the enigmatic centrist might not sign it. Democrats have no hope of Republican support, meaning all 50 senators in the caucus are needed to pass the measure.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer expressed confidence that Democrats now have unanimous caucus support for the bill.
“I am pleased to report that we have reached an agreement on the Inflation Reduction Act that I believe will gain the support of the entire Democratic Senate conference,” Schumer said in a statement on Thursday. “The final version of the Reconciliation Act, which will be tabled on Saturday, will reflect this work and bring us one step closer to enacting this landmark legislation.”
President Joe Biden also praised the latest development, without naming Sinema.
“Tonight we took another critical step toward reducing inflation and the cost of living for American families,” Biden said in a statement. “I look forward to the Senate taking up this legislation and passing it as soon as possible.”
After Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a centrist Democrat, signed the legislation on July 27, Sinema was seen as the last hurdle to moving forward with the legislation.
A Democrat familiar with the new agreement said it will include “a new excise tax on share buybacks that will generate far more revenue than the provision for interest carried forward.” A second Democratic source confirmed the new share buyback tax.
It was not immediately clear what other changes Sinema has made to support the legislation. Schumer said Thursday it will retain “key components” of the original bill, “including reducing the cost of prescription drugs, combating climate change, closing tax loopholes exploited by big business and the wealthy, and reducing the deficit by $300 billion.”
Sinema had long opposed a provision in Manchin’s deal with Schumer that aimed to close the interest-based tax credit. A neighbor of Sinema said on Thursday that her needs on the account have been met.
In her statement, Sinema said she would work separately “to implement tax reforms, protect investment in the U.S. economy and encourage continued growth while closing the most egregious loopholes that some are exploiting to avoid taxes.”
But that vow probably won’t mean much unless Democrats retain their congressional majorities in November or pass another party bill this year. Republicans are unlikely to agree to such a tax change under the regular 60-vote process for most Senate legislation, meaning the carry rate tax benefit is poised to be protected as a result of Sinema’s demands.
Democrats are aiming to pass broad legislation before the August recess in an effort to revive elements of Biden’s midterm election agenda.
“We are about to pass monumental and popular legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs, make the tax code fairer by making billion-dollar companies pay at least 15 percent, expand ACA-subsidized and tackle the climate crisis. grab,” Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said on Twitter. “It’s happening.”
Julie Tsirkin contributed.