Kyrsten Sinema, the senior senator from Arizona, is a holdout for now on President Joe Biden's full $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Agenda. This is for highly principled "centrist maverick" reasons her donors will probably explain to her at a fundraiser Tuesday afternoon.

The New York Times reports:

Under Ms. Sinema's political logo, the influential National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors and the grocers' PAC, along with lobbyists for roofers and electrical contractors and a small business group called the S-Corp political action committee, have invited association members to an undisclosed location on Tuesday afternoon for 45 minutes to write checks for between $1,000 and $5,800, payable to Sinema for Arizona.

Full vaccinations for the coronavirus will be required, according to the invitation.

This event is jam-packed with right-leaning lobbying groups who reportedly “fiercely oppose" Biden's ambitious investment in human infrastructure. The timing is bizarre, though perhaps predictable. This week is key in Democratic negotiations over the reconciliation bill and the more lobbyist-friendly one that Sinema helped negotiate.

Sinema has balked at the reconciliation bill's $3.5 trillion (over 10 years) price tag, even though it would only cost a quarter of that amount when you take into account spending cuts and tax increases, but Sinema has privately told Democrats she's “averse" to corporate and individual tax increases on those individuals making more than $400,000 a year. She's just looking out for corporations and the nation's top income earners. If she doesn't, who will?


Sawyer Hackett from Julian Castro's People First People noted that each of the PACs at the event “honoring" Sinema “overwhelmingly support Republicans over Democrats."

The guests at the fundraisers are expected to cry poverty, while writing Sinema checks for as much as $5,800. Apparently, their accountants checked the numbers and buying an off-the-rack senator is more cost-effective than rescuing millions of children from poverty. S-Corp PAC claims the proposed rate increases "would kneecap private companies." [Your editrix Rebecca, the president of an S-corp, would like to point out that in fact there is no corporate tax on S-corporations; instead, S-corps' owners are taxed only at whatever their normal individual tax rate would be.] Meanwhile, Eric Hoplin, the chief executive of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, has whined: "Passing the largest tax increase in U.S. history on the backs of America's job creators as they recover from a global pandemic is the last thing Washington should be doing." I've emphasized the excessively violent imagery, as if pre-Trump tax rates are somehow equivalent to waterboarding.

Look, it'll cost money to pursue aggressive action on housing, climate change, and health care. Sinema ran on protecting and improving the Affordable Care Act, which the Build Back Better reconciliation bill does. The National Association of Wholesale-Distributors supported the GOP's attempted ACA repeal in 2017, just like the National Retail Federation, which also now supports Sinema.

Sinema's spokesperson John LaBombard refused to comment on the fundraiser but pointed out that she'd "voted yes in August on the budget resolution" but that only reminds us that she'd strung along progressives so they'd support her bipartisan bill. Sinema assumes no one can see through her obvious song-and-dance routine. LaBombard insists that Sinema is "working directly, in good faith, on the legislation with her colleagues and the administration."

She uses the term "good faith" as if she deserves a cookie. We expect her to negotiate in good faith, but she often defines herself by how she'd like people to perceive her. That's preferable, I suppose, to judging her based on her actions. Someone on Twitter shared a clip of Sinema stating with practiced earnestness, "I'm trying really hard to be a person of character and integrity." No honest person says this. It's like when someone claims they have to “get their ducks in a row." That person is a crook.

[New York Times]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."

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