Sen. Kyrsten Sinema dashed the hopes of fellow Democrats on Thursday by reasserting her opposition to blowing up the filibuster to pass President Biden’s partisan rewrite of the nation’s voting laws.
“There is no need for me to restate my long-standing support for the 60-vote threshold to pass legislation,” said Ms. Sinema, a moderate Arizona Democrat. “There’s no need for me to restate its role in protecting our country from wild reversals in federal policy.”
Ms. Sinema took to the Senate floor shortly before Mr. Biden was set to appear on Capitol Hill to lobby for jettisoning the 60-vote threshold. In her remarks, Ms. Sinema offered a full-throated attack on the “disease of division,” but argued that gutting the filibuster would drive Americans further apart.
“American politics are cyclical and the granting of power in Washington, D.C. is exchanged regularly by the voters from one party to another,” she said. “But what is the legislative filibuster other than a tool … that millions of Americans represented by the minority party have a voice in the process.”
Ms. Sinema also noted that every time Senate leaders have weakened the filibuster to “protect a cherished value” it has “led us to more division, not less.” In particular, Ms. Sinema highlighted the 2013 decision by Democrats that changed the Senate rules to stipulate only a simple majority was needed to confirm Cabinet and judicial nominees.
That change allowed President Trump to nominate and confirm three Supreme Court justices along party lines, shifting the makeup of the nation’s highest court to the right.
“These short-sighted actions by both parties have led to our current American judiciary and Supreme Court, which is I stand here today is considering questions regarding fundamental rights Americans have enjoyed for decades,” said Ms. Sinema.
The remarks came shortly after the House passed two partisan voting measures along part lines. Both bills are part of a wide-sweeping effort by Mr. Biden and Democrats to abrogate the slew of election integrity measures that have passed in GOP-led states since 2020.
Since neither of the measures can overcome a GOP filibuster within the evenly split Senate, Democratic leaders have been pushing for scrapping the rule altogether.
Ms. Sinema’s continued opposition would make that feat impossible, however.
• Haris Alic can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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