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Sinema says Democrats oversold expectations on agenda

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), a centrist who has frustrated House progressives with her opposition to raising the corporate tax rate as part of President Biden’s climate and social spending package, criticized Democrats in a new interview for setting expectations too high for their political agenda. 

“You’re either honest or you’re not honest. So just tell the truth and be honest and deliver that which you can deliver,” Sinema told Politico. “There’s this growing trend of people in both political parties who promise things that cannot be delivered, in order to get the short-term political gain. And I believe that it damages the long-term health of our democracy.”

The remarks come as House Democrats prepare to pass a budget reconciliation package that is far smaller than what they’d hoped, in large part due to opposition from Sinema, fellow centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and House moderates.

The budget resolution approved by the Senate allowed for a $3.5 trillion package, which is what Democrats initially crafted. It was then cut back to $1.75 trillion.

It was clear for some time that the package would need to be cut back after the passage of the budget, but Democrats did not really begin to slim it down until this fall.

Debate over the package in the House also held up a separate vote on a bipartisan infrastructure deal, which was eventually approved and sent to the White House days after Democrats lost the race for Virginia’s governorship.

Sinema and other centrists had wanted the House to act much more swiftly on the infrastructure bill, which progressives used as leverage for the larger climate and social spending bill. 

In the interview with Politico, Sinema said she “will not support tax policies that have a negative impact on our economic climate,” which she sees as the “most important part of what is under discussion.”

She also said she supported direct and honest negotiations with her colleagues.

“If you’re in the middle of negotiating things that are delicate or difficult … doing it in good faith directly with each other is the best way to get to an outcome,” Sinema said in the interview. “I’m still in the process of negotiating the second provision of the president’s agenda … and I don’t negotiate in the press.”

Tags climate bill infrastructure bill Joe Biden Joe Manchin Kyrsten Sinema legislation Politics U.S. Senate

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File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

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In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)

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