Sinema Bearhugs Filibuster As GOPers Prepare To Use It To Kill Sweeping Voting Rights Bill

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 08: U.S. Sen. Kirsten Sinema (D-AZ) heads back to a bipartisan meeting on infrastructure in the basement of the U.S. Capitol building after the original talks fell through with the White House on June 8, 2021 in Washington, DC. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said they are now pursuing a two-path proposal that includes a new set of negotiations with a bipartisan group of senators. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Kirsten Sinema
Sen. Kirsten Sinema (D-AZ) heads back to a bipartisan meeting on infrastructure in the Capitol building on June 8, 2021. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) having a good day today.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) doubled down Monday on her refusal to blow up the filibuster ahead of the Senate’s highly anticipated vote on the For The People Act/S. 1, the Democrats’ sprawling voting rights package that Republicans are fully expected to block via the filibuster.

Sinema argued in a Washington Post op-ed that her position is “based on what is best for our democracy” and that the filibuster “compels moderation and helps protect the country from wild swings between opposing policy poles.”

“To those who want to eliminate the legislative filibuster to pass the For the People Act (voting-rights legislation I support and have co-sponsored), I would ask: Would it be good for our country if we did, only to see that legislation rescinded a few years from now and replaced by a nationwide voter-ID law or restrictions on voting by mail in federal elections, over the objections of the minority?” the Democratic senator wrote, using examples of state Republicans’ anti-voting laws that have successfully passed over the objections of the minority.

Sinema went on to echo McConnell’s doomsday warning that a GOP-controlled Senate would undo whatever major legislation Democrats pass if they blew up the filibuster-something Republicans could do regardless of whether Democrats did it first.

If that happens when Democrats are in the minority again, Sinema claimed, she “will work just as hard to preserve the right to shape legislation.”

The Arizona Democrat also called for a debate on the filibuster “so senators and our constituents can hear and fully consider the concerns and consequences.”

“Instability, partisanship and tribalism continue to infect our politics. The solution, however, is not to continue weakening our democracy’s guardrails,” she wrote. “If we eliminate the Senate’s 60-vote threshold, we will lose much more than we gain.”

Sinema’s op-ed puts the final nail in the coffin for S.1 in Tuesday’s vote to proceed with the legislation.

On the other hand, it is not yet clear whether the legislation could even pass without the filibuster serving as a roadblock; Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), another outspoken supporter of the filibuster, has not supported S.1, though Democrats are scrambling to craft a compromise bill he would approve of.

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