Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) Has admitted that the US Senate is dysfunctional, but she thinks that’s a reason do not modify the rules of the body for the adoption of legislation.
“When you have a place that doesn’t work and that doesn’t work, and many would say it’s the Senate today, I don’t think the solution is to break the rules,” Sinema said. told the Wall Street Journal this week. “I think the solution is for senators to change their behavior and start working together, which is what the country wants us to do.
Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) are the only two Democrats to have said this year they oppose changing Senate rules, which require at least 60 of the 100 chamber members to vote yes in order to advance most laws. Senator Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) Has not stated a position this year, but said in 2019 that he is opposed to changing the filibuster rules.
With Democrats controlling just 50 seats, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) would need his party’s unanimous support to change the rules.
Democrats can use a special process called budget reconciliation to pass tax legislation and spend, but they can’t use the process for policies without significant fiscal effects. This leaves a wide array of policies that make up the Biden administration’s agenda vulnerable to Republican-led filibusters.
The House has already passed a series of laws to impose new regulations on gun background checks, increase protection for transgender people, make it easier for workers to form unions, expand voting rights, and reform laws on guns. campaign finance. All of these bills can, and likely will, be blocked by Republicans using Senate filibuster rules.
Democrats face increasing pressure from party-aligned interest groups to change or remove Senate filibuster rules. Last month, Schumer said “failure is not an option” when it comes to voting rights and the campaign finance reform package known as the People’s Law. The bill would block Republicans’ ongoing efforts in state legislatures to pass new electoral restrictions based on former President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election.
“Everything is on the table,” Schumer said at a press conference when asked if he would support changing the filibuster rules to pass the bill.
Sinema’s opposition to changing the filibuster is not new. A spokesperson for the senator told the Washington Post in January that she is not only against, but also that she is “not prepared to change her mind” on this subject.
She reiterated this position in a letter to the voters who applied for his job in February.
“I have long said that I oppose the elimination of filibustering votes on legislation,” Sinema wrote in the letter. “Keeping the legislative obstruction is not about getting in the way of the things we want to do. Rather, it is intended to protect what the Senate was designed to be. I believe the Senate has a responsibility to put politics aside and consider, debate and compromise on legislative issues that will affect all Americans.
Sinema’s willingness to backfire on her party, such as when she voted against the minimum wage hike earlier this year, has made her loved by Republicans. Senator Kevin Cramer (RN.D.), who has partnered with Sinema on Senate Banking Committee legislation, considers her a friend and ally.
“She’s fiercely independent,” Cramer told HuffPost last month. “I think she’s rightfully moderate on a lot of issues, and I think I think I think I think I’m probably going to reflect the people of Arizona well.”
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up to become a Founding Member and help shape the next chapter of HuffPost