The Koch network, headed by billionaire oil and gas tycoon Charles Koch, is mobilizing its vast resources in an effort to convince holdout Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to tank the Democratic Party’s new reconciliation package ahead of a possible vote this week.
Since the deal was announced last week, Sinema, D-Ariz.—a frequent obstructionist of her own party’s agenda—has been completely silent about the bill, a hodgepodge of renewable energy investments, tax provisions, oil and gas industry giveaways, drug price reforms, and other measures. The bill was negotiated principally by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., another right-wing Democrat.
Sinema ignored reporters’ questions about the legislation on Monday, and her office told news outlets that she is reviewing the bill and awaiting the Senate parliamentarian’s assessment of whether certain provisions qualify under the arcane rules of budget reconciliation.
The Koch network appears to have sensed an opportunity in the senator’s refusal to endorse the bill, which has left Senate Democrats increasingly anxious about the legislation’s prospects.
This past weekend, as CNBC reported Monday, the prominent Koch-backed group Americans for Prosperity launched a digital ad imploring Sinema to block the reconciliation bill, joining the pharmaceutical industry, private equity, and other special interest groups lobbying against the measure.
Senate Democrats need the support of all 50 members of their caucus for the legislation to pass.
“Come on, Kyrsten,” the 30-second ad states. “Say no for Arizona.”
Americans for Prosperity also unveiled an ad targeting Manchin, with more expected in the coming days.
While Sinema has claimed to support letting Medicare negotiate drug prices and investing in renewable energy production—key elements of the new package—she has repeatedly opposed efforts to raise taxes on the rich and large corporations.
In its current form, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 would impose a 15% minimum tax on U.S. corporations with more than $1 billion in annual profits. The legislation would also take steps toward limiting the carried interest loophole, a notorious boon to private equity executives and ultra-wealthy hedge fund managers.
Sinema has previously blocked her party’s attempts to close or mitigate the carried interest loophole, drawing outrage from progressives.
“The carried interest is the most intellectually-indefensible, morally-unforgivable loophole in the entire tax code, and Senator Sinema’s defense of it is patently absurd,” Erica Payne, president and founder of the Patriotic Millionaires, said in a December statement. “Every Democrat in the Senate, even Joe Manchin, is on board with closing this ridiculous loophole except for Senator Sinema. It’s time for her to decide who she works for: Arizonans, or private equity billionaires.”