Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) continues to support the filibuster, and, in doing so, continues to draw ire from members of her own party. As Leah reported, one recent example of the senator doubling down on her support came in the form of an op-ed in The Washington Post.
“We have more to lose than gain by ending the filibuster,” Sinema’s headline read, which the senator emphasized once more in her closing.
Honestly, the entire op-ed is worth reading. Remember, I always read these articles I report on and respond to in their entirety, in part so that you don’t have to. But you really should read Sinema’s take.
Leah also helpfully summarizes Sinema’s arguments, which is that the senator is willing to defend it whether she is in the minority or majority. Sen. Sinema also reminds readers that bipartisanship is the “best way to achieve durable, lasting results[.]”
And for anyone who thinks Sinema is willing to change her mind, she doubles down:
It’s no secret that I oppose eliminating the Senate’s 60-vote threshold. I held the same view during three terms in the U.S. House, and said the same after I was elected to the Senate in 2018. If anyone expected me to reverse my position because my party now controls the Senate, they should know that my approach to legislating in Congress is the same whether in the minority or majority.
And to those who fear that Senate rules will change anyway as soon as the Senate majority changes: I will not support an action that damages our democracy because someone else did so previously or might do so in the future. I do not accept a new standard by which important legislation can only pass on party-line votes — and when my party is again in the Senate minority, I will work just as hard to preserve the right to shape legislation.
To her credit, the senator acknowledges and addresses her critics’ points. In an excerpt which Leah also highlighted:
Good-faith arguments have been made both criticizing and defending the Senate’s 60-vote threshold. I share the belief expressed in 2017 by 31 Senate Democrats opposing elimination of the filibuster — a belief shared by President Biden. While I am confident that several senators in my party still share that belief, the Senate has not held a debate on the matter.
It is time for the Senate to debate the legislative filibuster, so senators and our constituents can hear and fully consider the concerns and consequences. Hopefully, senators can then focus on crafting policies through open legislative processes and amendments, finding compromises that earn broad support.
Unfortunately, Sinema’s critics did not grant her the same respect. “Democrats blast Sinema logic on filibuster,” Hanna Trudo’s Saturday afternoon headline read.
These detractors, Trudo wrote, claim “there’s little evidence to support her recent argument” about bipartisanship and the filibuster, discounting that the senator’s op-ed contained paragraphs full of examples.
The piece continues:
Such lasting legislative victories suggest Sinema is wrong, the Democrats say, when she argues that ending the procedural Senate rule would prevent Republicans or Democrats from passing laws that have proven to be durable.
“Some of her arguments are less than rigorous,” said longtime Democratic strategist James Carville.
Again, did Carville not even read the op-ed?
The argument of these fellow party members, Trudo writes, comes down to how other hyper partisan legislation, namely Obamacare, has survived. There’s this “yes…but” kind of gem:
“Yes, she has a point, and yes, single-party bills are vulnerable,” said one Democratic operative and Clinton White House alum. “But big, important legislation has proven pretty durable.”
That being said, Trudo is equally dismissive, writing:
It’s certainly possible that bills passed by a Democratic Congress and signed into law by President Biden could be overturned by a future Republican Congress and GOP president. But it would be at least 2025 before such a situation would arise, and it’s impossible to know what the politics of four years from now will be.
Ultimately, it doesn’t look like the filibuster is going anywhere, not if Sinema has anything to say about it. Remember, she just doubled down on this. She’s one tough lady. Here’s hoping we can continue to depend on her.