Skip to content
Sinema enters Biden’s 3.5T budget battle armed with his own spreadsheets

Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) is negotiating the size and scope of President Biden’s $ 3.5 trillion budget plan armed with his own spreadsheets on the costs and tax hikes needed for each program, said to Axios people familiar with the matter.

Why is this important: As Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) draws attention for stepping back from a cost price of $ 3.5 trillion, Sinema’s focus on financial results will be just as important in winning the votes of them and other key Democrats.

Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.

  • Sinema’s intense interest in numbers also suggests that she will be a formidable foil for progressives – like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) – who are working to make the expense bill as big as possible.

  • “As she has said publicly, Senator Sinema will continue to work in good faith with her colleagues and President Biden as this legislation develops – and will take a close look at what committees are proposing,” John said. LaBombard, director of communications for Sinema.

The big picture: Despite the focus on Manchin, party leaders and the White House are aware of Sinema’s potential concerns.

  • By July, she was clear that the $ 3.5 trillion price tag was too high for her.

  • The lack of clarity on the duration of each program frustrated both senators and external budget groups.

  • The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget attempted to standardize the process and ended up pricing the reconciliation package at $ 5.5 trillion.

Between the lines: Sinema and Manchin are not necessarily on the same wavelength about the programs – and tax increases – they can afford.

In the wings: Sinema refers to her spreadsheets as she strategizes with her colleagues on the next steps in the budget process.

The bottom line: By internalizing the numbers, Sinema is prepared to question parts of Biden’s overall $ 3.5 trillion package.

  • It is also putting itself in a position to strike deals, as it did when it helped negotiate the two-party $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure package.

  • He garnered 69 votes, including 19 Republicans, in the Senate last month.

Like this article ? Get more Axios and subscribe for free to Axios Markets.