Where Things Stand: Sinema Doesn’t Just Love The Filibuster. She Wants To Strengthen It

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WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14: U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) speaks during a hearing before Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee September 14, 2022 in Washington, DC. The committee held a he... WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14: U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) speaks during a hearing before Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee September 14, 2022 in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing to examine “social media's impact on homeland security.” (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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One of the two most thorn-in-Democrats’-side senators rather brazenly planted her flag on the filibuster today — and she did it at a … Mitch McConnell event of all places.

Calling Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) the “most effective first-term senator” he’s seen in his decades in the upper chamber, McConnell introduced Sinema ahead of her speech and Q&A at the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville.

“She is, today, what we have too few of in the Democratic Party: a genuine moderate and a deal-maker,” he said.

During her speech at the McConnell Center — where other Democrats have given speeches in the past; President Biden did in 2011 — Sinema gushed about her friendship with McConnell, bragged about her cross-aisle reaching and even predicted that her party would lose control of Congress in November.

“As you all know, control changes between the House and the Senate every couple of years. It’s likely to change again in just a few weeks,” Sinema said.

The Arizona senator then expressed support for strengthening the filibuster in a way that would not only bring legislative progress to a halt in a 50-50 Senate, but also would reverse the rules that her bff McConnell set in 2017 to make it easier to approve Supreme Court nominees during Trump’s presidency.

“I have an incredibly unpopular view,” Sinema said to the audience gathered at the McConnell Center in Kentucky, before saying she supports a 60-vote threshold for all legislation. “I actually think we should restore the 60-vote threshold for the areas in which it has been eliminated already. We should restore it.

“It would make it harder for us to confirm judges. And it would make it harder for us to confirm executive appointments in each administration,” she continued, suggesting it would creates space for “more of that middle ground in all parts of our governance.”

While this episode of Sinema drama is groan-inducing, it also deflates hopes, once again, that Democrats will be able to effectively coalesce around any issue important enough to nuke the filibuster while Sinema and her partner in frustrating Democrats, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), remain in the Senate. While Democrats lost the battle to pass a massive chunk of Biden’s agenda via reconciliation to avoid the filibuster hurdle (because of Manchin and Sinema), some had hoped that in the wake of Roe being repealed, the party could unite against the rule to pass some sort of federal protections for abortion access, as well as same-sex marriage and contraceptives, with 50 senators.

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