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She’s In. Democrats, at Long Last, Have the Votes.

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Welcome to this week’s edition of the Surge, Slate’s own, beloved $90 million sunk cost.


Last week, we wrote about how Democrats were enjoying themselves for the first time in a while. Would you believe us if we told you that carried into a whole second week? They’re on the verge of passing the… only?… major piece of climate legislation, ever. They successfully protected abortion rights in Kansas. They landed in Taiwan (might be bad?) and took out a sane Republican in Michigan (MIGHT BE BAD??). But at least Republicans got … Eric.


Let’s start, though, with Democrats, at long last, getting the votes for a signature piece of legislation.

By Jim Newell

For the first time in Senate Democrats’ nearly Congress-long quest to pass any climate and health care legislation, they have the 50 out of 50 Democratic votes they need to do so. The key moment came last week, when West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin cut a deal with Chuck Schumer to lower drug costs; create a package of (permanent) clean energy incentives; protect improvements made to the Affordable Care Act; and raise taxes on large corporations. This week was about getting Manchin’s fellow centrist, Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, on board. (She hadn’t been looped in on the Schumer-Manchin negotiations.) On Thursday night, she and Schumer announced the tweaks that secured her vote. First, the sacrificial lamb embedded in the original deal—a narrowing of the carried interest loophole, which currently allows hedge fund and private equity managers to pay lower tax rates—was sacrificed. So, they will still get their lower tax rates. Is this entirely ridiculous? Yes. But it was ultimately a small piece of the package. Elsewhere, Sinema added more money for drought resilience (Arizona is dry!!) and pared back the corporate minimum tax in a way that would protect manufacturers, replacing it with a new excise tax on corporate stock buybacks. (Oh, and she got a floor vote this week confirming an Arizona lawyer to the federal bench.) Democrats will kick off the process of trying to pass this reconciliation bill, the Inflation Reduction Act, on Saturday afternoon. It will be a tiresome process lasting through the weekend, and there are mines to dodge along the way—namely, Republican amendments intended to exact political pain. But for the first time, there are 50 Democrats committed to getting there.

In the first........

© Slate


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