Sinema deserves McConnell’s praise and draws criticism from Democrats

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) engaged in an exchange of mutual admiration Monday with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), voiced support for restoring elements of the filibuster and suggested Republicans might take control of the House. or the Senate in the midterm elections.

Several Democrats were unhappy, criticizing not just his words but his timing.

Sinema made the comments during a speech at the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville, speaking and answering questions at McConnell’s invitation. There, McConnell praised Sinema effusively in his introduction, saying she was the “most effective first-term senator” he had seen in his 37 years in the Senate.

“She is, today, what we have too little of in the Democratic Party: a true moderate and a negotiator,” he said.

Sinema, for his part, praised McConnell. “Despite our apparent differences, Senator McConnell and I have forged a friendship, a friendship rooted in our commonalities, including our pragmatic approach to legislation, our respect for the Senate as an institution,” she said. declared.

Since 1993, dozens of Democrats and Republicans, diplomats and foreign leaders have spoken at the McConnell Center. Vice President Joe Biden did in February 2011; Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) spoke in April of this year. But Sinema’s appearance came just weeks before the midterm elections as several of his fellow Democrats campaign to help the party retain the House and Senate in November.

“As you all know, check the changes between the House and the Senate every two years. It is likely to change again in just a few weeks,” Sinema said.

That angered Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona), a potential challenger to Sinema in 2024.

Sinema has frequently expressed interest in the kind of bipartisanship that has frustrated his fellow progressive Democrats, especially when Republicans have used the filibuster to keep them from passing climate, abortion and right to vote legislation. Democrats had called for its removal to enact key elements of their platform before the midterm elections, when they control the White House and Congress. Appointments of judges and key administration officials have also been slowed by the Republican use of the filibuster.

“I have an incredibly unpopular point of view,” Sinema told the Kentucky crowd. After saying she supported the 60-vote requirement to pass legislation in the Senate – where her party controls just 50 seats – Sinema said she wanted to go even further. “I actually think we should reinstate the 60-vote threshold for areas where it has already been removed. We should restore it,” she said, before pausing to let the audience applaud her approval.

“That, she said, would make it more difficult for us to confirm the judges. And it would be more difficult for us to confirm the appointments of executives in each administration. Ultimately, it would force compromises and create “more of that common ground in all parts of our governance,” she said.

Democrats led by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) eliminated the 60-vote threshold for federal judges in 2013. McConnell, in 2017, removed the 60-vote threshold for candidates to the Supreme Court as the Senate considered President Donald Trump. appointment of Neil M. Gorsuch.

The “frustration” with the filibuster, Sinema said, “represents only the short-term anxiety of not getting what you want. And those of you who are parents in the room know that the best thing that you can do for your child is not to give him everything he wants.

She argued that bad laws emerge without the kind of consensus that a buccaneer can force. As proof, Sinema pointed to the House where no rule of filibuster exists. “When Republicans are in control, they pass kinda crazy legislation,” she said. “And when Democrats are in power, they pass some crazy legislation. And the job of the Senate is to cool that passion.

She criticized both Trump and President Biden for talking about eliminating the filibuster as well as both sides on immigration and border security.

“All my life,” said the 46-year-old senator, “the federal government has absolutely failed, absolutely failed in its charter to protect our border. We haven’t had a secure border in my entire life. But, after the election, Sinema said she would connect with “my good friend” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) to work on the issue.

“The two of us from different political parties, but sharing the same core values. We recognize the crisis we find ourselves in and we want to resolve it. Cornyn and Sinema were part of a bipartisan group that worked on successful gun control legislation following the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Sinema’s appearance crystallized what his critics have said is the freshman senator’s problematic alliance with Republicans, which many Democrats claim is harmful to the country.

Keith Olbermann, the former ESPN “SportsCenter” and MSNBC host, continued Twitter to criticize his comments and in doing so revealed that they had had a personal relationship years earlier. “When we dated in 2010-11, Kyrsten was a legitimate progressive, far to my left. Now she’s embraced the political industry where there’s only process, no politics, and never people. .

During the Q&A session, Sinema was asked if running for statewide office or running a marathon was harder. Sinema – a self-proclaimed ‘avid marathon runner’ – said they were somewhat comparable and after completing a recent marathon she ‘could barely walk in the Senate for the whole of the following week’.

Standing from the podium, she added, “I was walking around -” then twisted her body slightly with her hands raised into fists, as if clutching some braces. “But you know, in the Senate, it’s fine.” As the crowd laughed, she added, “Most of them have trouble walking anyway.”

Comments are closed.