Why do Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) continue to hold out against voting for President Joe Biden’s cornerstone legislation, the Build Back Better reconciliation bill? We learned that coal handed Manchin over half a million dollars last year as reported by The New York Times, and even more significant, big pharma lined Sinema’s coffer with $750,000, The Salon wrote. Oh. Well, paybacks are hell.
Saturday, the Arizona Democratic Party passed a resolution. It guaranteed a no-confidence vote against Sinema should she not back filibuster reforms or vote against President Biden’s Build Back Better reconciliation bill.
The would-be maverick appears willing to overthrow President Biden’s legislative agenda after she received massive donations from the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. After that, she said she was against the Democratic plan to lower prescription drug costs.
Sinema told White House that she opposes House and Senate bills that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug costs, sources told The Politico this week.
The Arizona Democratic Party State Committee released a statement that read despite a huge 91 percent vote calling to eliminate the filibuster, she still ignores her party’s requests. They refer to it as the “Jim Crow relic,” The Arizona Mirror reported:
Democrats estimate these bills would save $450 billion over the next decade and thereby pay for a large portion of President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending plan:
‘The budget bill would expand child care, health care and paid family leave and would fund programs to combat climate change, among other measures. Three House Democrats have also balked at the plan, although they have offered a “centrist” alternative that would drastically limit which drugs are subject to Medicare negotiation. Sinema reportedly opposes that proposal as well.’
During her 2018 Senate win, Sinema tweeted repeatedly:
‘We need to make health care more affordable, lower prescription drug prices, and fix the problems in the system – not go back to letting insurance companies call all the shots. #AZSen’
The Committee wrote that its members would rather Sinema be successful, according to The Daily Beast:
‘[But if she] continues to delay, disrupt, or vote to gut the Reconciliation Package of its necessary funding, [they will] go officially on record and will give Senator Sinema a vote of NO CONFIDENCE.’
Kai Newkirk, a Democratic organizer in Arizona, told the Daily Beast:
‘The Arizonans who did the work to elect Sinema have had enough of her betraying the voters who put her in office. It’s time for her to show the bare minimum of accountability and stop obstructing the agenda that Democrats, including her, campaigned on and were elected to deliver. Sinema is setting her political future on fire. If she doesn’t change course drastically and soon, it will be too late.’
This week, Sinema apparently also told President Biden she will vote against the reconciliation bill if the infrastructure bill fails or does not receive its promised September 27 vote in the House.
Sinema pointed out that an up or down vote was promised by that day, and leadership needs to hold firm to that commitment. As Politico wrote:
‘Democrats have been united in their insistence on lowering prescription drug costs for seniors. The plan is hugely popular with Americans, and for good reason. We pay significantly more for prescription drugs than many other countries because we refuse to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.’
Dems have a plan to change that and save billions of dollars in the process, but Sinema remains opposed. One can only assume her opposition has something to do with the fact that she is a favorite among pharmaceutical companies, raking in nearly $100,000 in campaign contributions just during the last election cycle.
If Dems cannot recoup the savings from a prescription drug pricing overhaul, they’ll lose their ability to pay for expanded Medicare coverage for vision, hearing, and dental, which is extremely popular.
According to The Open Secrets, Manchin has been Big Oil’s top recipient with $179,000, over twice what the next senator in line received.
The New York Times reported this about the Senate Energy Panel Chair Manchin:
‘[He] earned half a million dollars last year from coal production, is preparing to remake President Biden’s climate legislation in a way that tosses a lifeline to the fossil fuel industry — despite urgent calls from scientists that countries need to quickly pivot away from coal, gas and oil to avoid a climate catastrophe.’
The Intercept revealed after an investigation that:
‘Senator Joe Manchin’s (D-WV)’s daughter worked with Pfizer Inc. in 2016 to monopolize and CNN the price of the EpiPen while the company gave generous campaign donations to Manchin.’
‘Heather Bresch, Manchin’s daughter, played a direct part in the EpiPen Price Inflation Scandal.’
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