Senator Sinema continues to staunchly defend the Senate filibuster, most recently claiming the filibuster is the key to “comity” in the Senate. We wonder if she looked up the meaning of that word. Courtesy and considerate behavior is the last thing Senate Republicans seem interested in, and the filibuster — which allows their minority to block up or down votes on any piece of legislation — is a useful tool in Minority Leader McConnell’s war against Biden’s plans for the country.
Sinema’s PR shop gives us daily posts about legislation she supports — often with the co-sponsorship of one or two Republicans. But she needs 10 Republicans to get any of that legislation passed unless she becomes willing to kill the filibuster. So, what’s the point of supporting legislation without removing the roadblock to passing it?
Sinema says she supports both pieces of major voting rights legislation — the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. But neither can become law as long as the filibuster stands. Some Democratic Senators have objections to parts of the For the People Act, but those objections won’t even be aired and can’t be negotiated unless the Senate is faced with the necessity of an up-or-down vote on the bills. None of that will happen with the filibuster in place.
In essence, Sinema says she values the elusive ideal of bi-partisanship above getting things done. Sadly, the other side of the aisle values blocking Biden’s agenda more than anything else. As Ari Berman said, “I don’t recall Republicans asking for bipartisan support before they introduced 400 voter suppression bills & enacted 22 new voter suppression laws in 14 states so far this year.” Sinema would say (we guess, who knows?) that she has no control over what happens in state legislatures but she does in the Senate and there the key, according to her, is to change behavior rather than eliminate the filibuster. Sadly, we just don’t see the Republicans in the Senate changing their behavior.
If Sinema truly respected bipartisanship, she’d respect the voters of all parties who overwhelmingly support the voting rights bills as well as the rest of Biden’s agenda. But to her, the measure of bipartisanship is the 100 people sitting in the U.S. Senate Chamber, not the American people. Logic like that doesn’t deserve our support.
But what can we do? Sinema isn’t up for re-election until 2024 and no recall is available for U.S. Senators. She may choose not to run again — she may have bigger fish to fry (money to make) with a book deal and a TV commentator position. Here’s what we should do:
- Work like hell to re-elect Mark Kelly who so far doesn’t seem to share Sinema’s twisted view of bipartisanship.
- Support election and re-election of Democratic Senators in other states in 2022 so that Sinema’s vote becomes irrelevant.
- Support Senator Schumer is any effort he takes to punish Sinema for her failure to support the Biden agenda.
- Push Leader Schumer to get the job done on voting rights legislation, no matter what it takes.
- Let Sinema know how we feel. Contact.
- Join demonstrations when you can.
Yes, we know it doesn’t feel like enough. Democracy is on the line. Senator Sinema doesn’t seem to care.
So What The Hell Do We Do Now? (Joe Manchin Edition), Ezra Levin, Co-Founder & Co-Executive Director, Indivisible