They are more than divided than ever.
Democrats may not be able to battle rising inflation effectively. Not because of obstinance from the GOP, but because they can’t agree on the solution to rampant inflation, reducing the burden on American consumers.
Internal divisions have hampered Democrats’ ability to make meaningful proposals on reducing the cost of gas, health care, and child care.
Most recently, some Democrats have rallied behind a proposal to start taxing windfall profits. The proposal, which targets major oil and gas companies, would raise an estimated $45 billion in tax revenue, a figure that would be returned to individual taxpayers through energy rebates.
On Thursday (March 17), in an address on the Senate floor, Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y) revealed that gas companies would be appearing before Congress to testify why they’re buying stock back rather than lowering gas prices.
Although most Democrats agree that taxing oil companies’ windfall profits is an acceptable strategy, their greatest obstacle is Democratic centrist Senator Joe Manchin (W.Va.).
Manchin, who commands the most significant swing vote in the Democratic caucus, isn’t sold on the proposal. Republicans also think that it’s unlikely the West Virginia Senator would vote “yes.”
To establish the facts, Manchin has shared with news outlet The Hill that he would like a Senate hearing.
But Manchin’s swing vote isn’t the only one Democrats may need to garner. Senate Congress Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-WN.) and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-DE.) haven’t revealed where they stand on the matter.
Even if all 50 members of the Democratic caucus voted “yes” on the bill, acquiring the ten votes from Republicans needed to pass the 60-vote threshold would be the next challenge and not even remotely possible.
In the unlikely event that Dems’ get all 50 Democratic votes but want to circumvent GOP opposition, they could put the legislation in a budget reconciliation package, an idea that hasn’t had any serious discussions.
Republicans, however, already hold the view that the bill, sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), is dead in the water, with Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, saying she “can’t see any Republican supporting it.”
Murkowski said the lack of support was “for lots of good reasons,” saying if the administration wants “to send a positive signal to [oil] producers,” taxing windfall profits wouldn’t help.