Minutes before President Joe Biden was set to travel to Capitol Hill to persuade Democrats to scrap current Senate rules for the sake of protecting voting rights, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) took to the Senate floor to give her president, her colleagues, and her country a simple answer: Nope. That Sinema opposes changing the chamber’s 60-vote threshold to pass legislation is not news. She has said so ever since Democrats took control of Congress last January. But the way Sinema timed her speech—and her decision to give one at all—amounted to a gut punch to Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and hundreds of Democratic lawmakers who have ratcheted up the push to pass election reforms since the start of the new year. The White House declined to comment on Sinema’s speech, but within the West Wing, the mood was incandescent with rage. One person familiar with the internal response to the Arizona senator’s remarks replied only with a red-faced swearing emoji. On Tuesday, Biden and Harris traveled to Georgia for a major joint address to make the case to pass voting bills by changing Senate rules. Schumer had already teed up a process that could set up such a debate within weeks. And many Democrats believe their time is running out to enact reforms before it’s too late, with dozens of Republican-held states enacting new restrictive voting laws ahead of the 2022 elections. Few Democrats felt it was likely, or even plausible, that filibuster holdouts like Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) would be moved at this stage. But even fewer expected Sinema to deliver the coup de grace on the Senate floor just moments before Biden could come to Capitol Hill and make his plea. Sinema rejected Biden’s latest offer even before he could make it. Sens. Dick Durbin (IL) and Jeff Merkley (OR) were the only Democrats to join Sinema on the floor during her speech. While Durbin watched closely, Merkley kept his head down for most of the time, jotting notes into a binder. As they watched from afar, Democratic lawmakers and aides privately stewed at Sinema’s speech. And her colleagues began to call her out: Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) tweeted shortly afterward, “shame on you.” On the House floor, where Democrats on Thursday morning passed another round of voting rights legislation, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) took the rare step of calling out his Arizona colleague by name. “Today, the House showed where it stands,” Gallego said. “We won’t shrink from protecting our democracy… It’s past t . . . read the full article here.
Keywords: sinemas, reminds, filibuster, hes, democrats, floor, speech, democratic, reforms, wasting, biden, voting, colleagues, senate, sinema
LOC: the West Wing
DATE: 2022, 2024, Today, weeks, Tuesday, the day, Thursday, last January, the last year
NORP: Russian, American, Democrat, Democrats, Democratic, Republican, Republicans
PERSON: Biden, Durbin, Harris, Sinema, Gallego, Schumer, Joe Biden, McConnell, John Thune, Dick Durbin, Joe Manchin, Scott Bixby, Jeff Merkley, Chuck Schumer, Jared Huffman, Kamala Harris, Ruben Gallego, Kyrsten Sinema, Mitch McConnell,
CARDINAL: 60, One, dozens, hundreds