Republicans, meanwhile, spent Friday putting pressure on Sinema and fellow Democratic centrist Joe Manchin III of West Virginia to back GOP-favored edits to the bill or reconsider their support entirely. Both Democrats have backed the package after a year of negotiations in which they flexed their power in the 50-50 Senate to shape and shrink the legislation.
“To Manchin and Sinema, thank you for holding the line on the Senate filibuster; thank you for doing some things to make America a less radical place,” Lindsey Graham, Senate Budget’s ranking Republican, said during a GOP news conference. “But you are going to be held accountable by your voters on this issue.”
Graham specifically targeted Manchin, saying Republicans may not go along with including a permitting overhaul in a stopgap measure to keep the government open after current funding expires Sept. 30. Democratic leadership promised to try to move provisions to speed up energy projects by Oct. 1 as part of their deal with Manchin on reconciliation.
“I will not vote for a continuing resolution that is part of a political payback scheme,” Graham said.
He added that if he could get priorities added for his home state of South Carolina he’d consider going along and urged other senators to demand the same. If not, Graham said he’ll need to see a “clean” measure.
Schumer declined to comment on Graham’s CR threat other than to say, “It’s a long time away.”
Republicans also pledged to force tough votes during the “vote-a-rama” process, in which they can offer unlimited amendments to Democrats’ bill before final passage.
“Energy, inflation, the border and crime — expect to see amendments on all of those things,” said Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, a member of Republican leadership.
Republicans are also expected to target the new taxes in the bill, attempting to put Democrats on the record backing tax increases on households earning less than $400,000 — the line Democrats have pledged not to cross.