Holdout Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona on Saturday slammed House Democrats’ decision to delay a vote on a bipartisan infrastructure deal, calling it “inexcusable” and a “stunt” by progressives.
“Over the course of this year, Democratic leaders have made conflicting promises that could not all be kept — and have, at times, pretended that differences of opinion within our party did not exist, even when those disagreements were repeatedly made clear directly and publicly,” Ms. Sinema said in a statement.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Saturday that a vote on the $1.2 trillion bill would be delayed until as late as the end of October. She had initially agreed to bring it up for a vote this week.
Ms. Sinema said canceling the infrastructure vote “further erodes that trust.”
“More importantly, it betrays the trust the American people have placed in their elected leaders and denies our country crucial investments to expand economic opportunities,” Ms. Sinema said.
The infrastructure bill passed through the Senate in a 69-30 vote in August. But progressives prevented a vote this week by threatening to defeat it unless the Senate passed a larger, $3.5 trillion “reconciliation” bill that includes liberal priorities such as climate-change initiatives and entitlements.
President Biden told House Democrats Friday that he still wants both measures to pass, but he’s in no hurry. They are the centerpiece of his first-year economic agenda.
Ms. Sinema said Arizonans and Americans “expect their lawmakers to consider legislation on the merits — rather than obstruct new jobs and critical infrastructure investments for no substantive reason.”
“What Americans have seen instead is an ineffective stunt to gain leverage over a separate proposal,” she said.
“My vote belongs to Arizona, and I do not trade my vote for political favors — I vote based only on what is best for my state and the country. I have never, and would never, agree to any bargain that would hold one piece of legislation hostage to another.”
Centrist Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, who also was demanding a vote on the infrastructure bill this week, said “a small far-left faction of the House of Representatives undermined that agreement and blocked a critical vote on the president’s historic bipartisan infrastructure bill.”