Arizona columnist rips Kyrsten Sinema's obstruction of Democratic agenda: 'She may as well join' the GOP

Arizona columnist rips Kyrsten Sinema's obstruction of Democratic agenda: 'She may as well join' the GOP

When Democrat Kyrsten Sinema defeated Republican Martha McSally in Arizona's 2018 U.S. Senate race, it was a political shocker because of the Grand Canyon State's conservative history. But in the Biden era, the decidedly centrist senator has often been a source of frustration for progressives in the Democratic Party. And Elvia Díaz, a columnist for the Arizona Republic, expresses some of that frustration in a column published on July 28.

Díaz writes, "What's keeping Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema from switching to the Republican Party?.... It's a serious question because she has done nothing but the bidding of Republicans by allowing just about every legislation to be blocked given the current 50-50 Senate split and the 60-vote threshold to approve bills. Now, she's even torching the Democrats' budget reconciliation bill which wouldn't require the blessing of any Republican."

Right-wing Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina is praising Sinema, along with Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, for advancing a bipartisan infrastructure package — one that, it seems, has enough GOP support to meet the 60-vote requirement of the filibuster. But on the other hand, many Democratic progressives and liberals are expressing their frustration because Sinema has come out against a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill on infrastructure. The process known as budget reconciliation is an exception to the filibuster, and reconciliation bills do not require 60 votes; they only require a simple majority.

"Without her support," Díaz emphasizes, "the budget reconciliation package is effectively dead. That's not just a whiplash. It's a lethal blow to President Joe Biden's package that includes — among (other) things — money to expand Medicare, to pay for universal pre-kindergarten, caregiving for the disabled and elderly. Democrats had also hoped to tuck an immigration package to the reconciliation bill to legalize the Dreamers, farmworkers and those with temporary status known as TPS."

Díaz continues, "None of that can happen without all 50 Democrats voting for the package. Sinema's new blow came just as Biden announced a separate bipartisan deal on infrastructure that she co-negotiated. Sinema is putting her faith on Republicans to deliver that package and they might — just might — give her that win. But that's no consolation for the millions of Americans who need child care, for the elderly and the disabled, for the millions of young immigrants who've been tossed around like political football…. That's no consolation for Arizona Democrats and the independents who put their faith on Sinema when they elected her in 2018."

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