Arizona Democrat Senator Kyrsten Sinema delivered yet another devastating blow to Democrat President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion bill, reportedly informing the White House that she does not support the drug-pricing reforms that the White House is already struggling to get support for.
“Sinema met with President Joe Biden on Sept. 15 to discuss the social spending package, in which party leaders hope to include the Medicare prescription drug pricing proposal,” Politico reported. “Sinema has made her resistance to the current House prescription drug negotiation proposal clear to the White House, according to one of the sources, but it’s unclear if she’s completely immovable.”
The news is just the latest blow for Biden’s struggling administration, which has seen its approval rating plummet down into the 30s in recent weeks. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is signaling that he wants to delay voting on Biden’s package until 2022, which could be a death blow to the legislation.
Manchin “is privately saying he thinks Congress should take a ‘strategic pause’ until 2022 before voting on President Biden’s $3.5 trillion social-spending package,” Axios reported. “Manchin’s new timeline — if he insists on it — would disrupt the plans by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to vote on the budget reconciliation package this month.”
The report said that any delay from Manchin, who is not part of the far-left-wing of the Democrat Party, could “imperil House passage of the separate $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which Pelosi has promised to pass by Sept. 27.”
Biden reportedly called Manchin earlier this year and told him regarding Democrats’ massive coronavirus stimulus bill, “If you don’t come along, you’re really f***ing me.”
The administration also got bad news on Sunday night when the Associated Press reported that the Senate parliamentarian ruled that Democrats cannot include a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens in their massive $3.5 trillion social-spending bill.
Fox News congressional correspondent Chad Pergram later confirmed the report, writing: “A preliminary ruling from Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, obtained by Fox, would bar Democrats from adding immigration provisions to the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill.”
“Democrats did not have firm legislative text nor a total price tag for the bill. So it’s hard to see how there is an absolute ruling on this,” Pergram said. “But, budget reconciliation bills, which Democrats were using to avoid a filibuster, must be strictly fiscal in nature and can’t add to the deficit. It was believed that this push to add immigration to the bill was too policy driven.”
“This is a blow to Democrats and progressives who pushed to add immigration provisions to the bill. This will cause problems if Democrats have to slash the total size of the size of the legislation to mollify moderate Democrats,” Pergram continued. “It was thought that lopping immigration provisions into the bill could help placate liberals if Democrats have to trim the size of the legislation.”
Pergram added that the key part from MacDonough’s decision was that including immigration as part of reconciliation “is further evidence that the policy changes of this proposal far outweigh the budgetary impact scored to it and it is not appropriate for inclusion in reconciliation.”
This article has been expanded after publication to include additional information.