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Did Schumer Dupe Senate Republicans on the Climate and Tax BillOr Just Outsmart Them?

Some days in Washington surprise just about everybody. Wednesday was among those days.

After greater than a year of delays, setbacks, and intra-party wrangling, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer struck a cope with Sen. Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, on a $433 billion health, climate, and goverment tax bill. Manchins pivotal support means Democrats might be able to ram the bill through Congress without the Republican votes.

Democrats hailed the agreement being an unexpected breakthrough. President Joe Biden called on Congress to send the measure to his desk ASAP.

However the Republican response was unusual and, some argued, disingenuous. They didnt just lambaste the legislation for including tax increases on large corporations. They accused the Democrats of deceiving them.

The problem, being an outraged Sen. John Cornyn of Texas explained Thursday afternoon in a Senate floor speech, was the timing of the announcement. It came just hours following a high-profile bill allocating billions to subsidize domestic semiconductor manufacturing and scientific research had passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote. Cornyn along with other Republicans claimed that Schumer had promised them that the reconciliation bill, as its known on Capitol Hill, was dead. That alleged promise was what convinced Republicans to go forward on the semiconductor bill, referred to as the CHIPS and Science Act.

Senators Manchin and Schumer didn’t draft this 725-page bill in the four hours between your passing of the CHIPS Act and Senator Manchins news release, Cornyn said. Theyve been focusing on this the complete time if they told us it had been off the table.

Advocates say the CHIPS legislation will alleviate the supply chain crisis and increase Americas competitiveness with China. It passed the Senate on Wednesday 64 to 33, drawing the support of 17 Republicans. How do we negotiate in good faith, compromise where necessary, and obtain things done together following the majority leader and the Senator from West Virginia pull a stunt such as this? Cornyn added. To check you in the attention and let you know one thing also to do another is completely unforgivable.

Schumers office flatly denied having available this agreement. It had been McConnell who tied both together, not us, a Schumer aide tells TIME, discussing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Angry Republican Senators insisted that has been false.

They sucked Republican votes up such as a Hoover Deluxe and got their votes [on CHIPS] and, bam, announced this new tax increase, said Sen. John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana, on Fox & Friends on Thursday morning. We appear to be a whole lot ofwell, Im not likely to say what we appear to be.

But veterans of the halls of CongressRepublican and Democrat alikeargue the GOP type of attack is hard to stomach, because Republicans had no reason to believe Democrats would give up advancing their priorities while still in power.

I dont buy that, Neil Chatterjee, a former top aide to McConnell, tells TIME. There’s always been a feeling on the list of Republican leadership that, in a 50-50 Senate, the Democratic senators have leverage. And theres been a feeling that Manchin would ultimately deal because its in his interest to take action. If the home flips in November, his status because the decisive vote burns up. That is his best possibility to get something done.

And Manchin himself never said that the reconciliation bill that his party wanted so badly was officially dead, even though the negotiations appeared to collapse on July 14. Even fourteen days ago, he was maintaining he wanted more data on inflation and he wasnt walking away, notes Sarah Binder, a congressional expert at the Brookings Institution. In the weeks since, Manchin consulted former Secretary of Treasury Larry Summers for affirmation that the compromise bill he and Schumer were privately hammering out wouldn’t normally be inflationary. Summers, a former president of Harvard University who worked in both Clinton and Obama administrations, has been among the Democrats fiercest critics on economic policy lately.

One Democratic operative who spent years in the Senate thinks that Republicans arent so angry about being duped because they are embarrassed about being bested.

Me thinks they doth protest an excessive amount of, Jim Manley, a former senior communications adviser to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, tells TIME. Theres some more twists and turns to click here, but the simple truth is they got beat fair and square.

Indeed, soon after the Schumer-Manchin deal was announced, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and the home minority leader, sent a memo to the Republican House caucus advising all of them to vote contrary to the measure as a protest contrary to the Democrats. The CHIPS bill ultimately passed Thursday afternoon, with 24 Republicans joining just about any Democrat voting for this. It had been not immediately clear just how many Republicans voted contrary to the bill due to McCarthys urging, instead of their genuine opposition to it. Biden is likely to sign the bill into law.

To believe they got misled somehow is really as pathetic because they come, Manley said. They cant possibly believe this. They’re being dragged into going for a group of no votes that I believe theyre likely to regret. He also noted how Democrats could attack Republicans who voted contrary to the CHIPS bill as choosing to safeguard Chinese interests. The pro-CCP ads write themselves, he said, discussing the Chinese Communist Party.

Passing of the Schumer-Manchin deal is definately not assured. To pass out from the evenly split Senate, all 50 members that caucus with Democrats must back it, allowing Vice President Kamala Harris to serve because the tie-breaker. But Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona Democrat who has previously opposed any type of tax upsurge in the bill, has still not announced whether she’ll support the package. We dont have comment because Kyrstens reviewing the written text and will have to review what happens of the parliamentarian process, a spokesperson for the senator tells TIME. (Schumer submitted the bill to the Senate parliamentarian Wednesday night, hoping to clear the bill for consideration in a few days, but its not yet determined if the review will need longer.)

Meanwhile, both sides already are strategizing the way the reconciliation bill gives them an edge with voters heading into November. Sources say that Republicans intend to utilize the tax increases in the reconciliation bill, that is formerly called the Inflation Reduction Act, against Democrats, arguing that they can make things worse at the same time of record-high inflation.

Democrats have previously crushed American families with historic inflation, McConnell tweeted on Thursday. Now they would like to put on giant tax hikes that may hammer workers and kill plenty of American jobs. First they killed your familys budget. Now they would like to kill your task too.

Democrats, however, say that passing these bills will setup a solid contrast between them and Republicans. Since Biden took office, they will have passed a suite of popular bills, like the economic recovery package and the infrastructure bill this past year, and the first major gun safety measure in decades, which Biden signed last month. The CHIPS bill, and potentially, a historic authorities investment in combating climate change, is only going to increase their talking points.

Needless to say, legislation is never a done deal until a president signs it into law. And the Schumer-Manchin deal still includes a good way to go before reaching Bidens desk.

E mail us at letters@time.com.

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