The Senate is on track for a weekend vote on the Inflation Reduction Act (H.R. 5376), the massive tax, health care, and climate bill, according to Majority Leader Charles Schumer, but forces beyond the New York Democrat’s control could alter that timeline.
The bill’s biggest roadblock comes from within the Democratic Party, with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona yet to say how she would vote. Democrats need all 50 of their senators on board and the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris to secure passage.
A spokesperson for Sinema said the senator would address the bill once the Senate parliamentarian has completed a review of the bill, to ensure its provisions comply with congressional rules for budget reconciliation measures.
The process of clearing Democrats’ drug-pricing provisions by the parliamentarian has stretched more than a week, leaving the bill’s tax and climate portions still to be vetted. In addition, the Congressional Budget Office has yet to release its determination of the cost of the bill, and Sinema could also be waiting for that before deciding.
Schumer insisted, however, that the Senate was on schedule to begin debating the legislation by the end of this week, regardless of whether the parliamentarian has finished her review.
Not all senators were convinced of that timeline, however.
“As far as I know, I don’t know the timeline,” said Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.
Once debate has started, Senate Democrats will have to contend with potentially hundreds of amendments, under what’s known as a vote-a-rama, that can potentially go on for days.