Vulnerable Democrats bet on drought money to quench parched West
Sen. Mark Kelly relied on numbers to persuade key Democrats this summer, including pivotal negotiator Sen. Joe Manchin, to squeeze $4 billion more into the tax, health, and climate bill to address severe drought in the West. Kelly (D-Ariz.) and a handful of other Western senators knew they needed upwards of $5 billion in the package for drought, but the starting point in negotiations was $1 billion. The former astronaut and naval aviator had to explain to some of his colleagues that “the math just didn’t work,” he said in an interview last week. … Along with fellow Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Colorado’s Michael Bennet, and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Kelly ultimately secured $4 billion in the package (Public Law 117-169), which President Joe Biden signed earlier this week.