Democrat Sinema: Forget About Killing Filibuster

Senator makes clear she is opposed to the idea
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2021 2:11 PM CDT
Kyrsten Sinema Op-Ed Dooms Chances to Kill Filibuster
Senate Security and Governmental Affairs Committee member Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., listens to witnesses during a hearing on 2020 census on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 16, 2019.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

A Democratic effort to pass voting rights legislation was on track to fail in the Senate on Tuesday because it won't get the 60 votes necessary to overcome a Republican filibuster, reports the Hill. The issue is calling new attention to a push from some Democrats to try abolish the filibuster altogether, though Democratic Sen. Krysten Sinema made clear in a Washington Post op-ed that she is not budging in her opposition to that idea. Her basic argument is that while it would benefit Democrats in the short run, it would hurt in the long run whenever Republicans regain control of Congress. At that point, they could undo any Democratic initiatives and put in place some of their own. "If we eliminate the Senate’s 60-vote threshold, we will lose much more than we gain," she writes. Her op-ed is generating lots of reaction:

  • At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey argues that "Sinema makes a compelling argument to progressives who seem to forget that Democrats won’t always win elections:" But her real audience, he adds, is Arizona voters, "whom Sinema notes have affection for 'mavericks' from both sides of the aisle."
  • At New York, Jonathan Chait writes that Sinema is flat-out incorrect in places. She cites examples of how killing the filibuster could backfire on Democrats, including by endangering spending programs for the needy. But "almost every program Sinema cites" could already be undone without the filibuster by the process known as budget reconciliation, he writes. Those programs are perfectly safe, however, because they're popular.
  • An analysis at Vox by Andrew Prokop notes that the prospects of eliminating the filibuster are now all but dead. Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin also opposes the idea, as do other Democrats keeping quiet about it, as reported by NBC News. "The most reformers can hope for at the moment is a more limited rules change," writes Prokop. One idea in circulation is lowering the threshold from 60 votes to 55.
  • At the National Review, David Harsanyi complains that a reporter asked Sinema if she would reverse course on her position right after her op-ed was published. "The entire line of filibuster questioning—really, this badgering—is a proxy campaign waged for the Democratic Party," he writes. "It’s not only a way to incessantly pester those who oppose blowing up Senate norms, it’s also meant to create the perception that filibuster 'reform' is a vital issue and an inevitability. There’s no other way to interpret it."
(More Kyrsten Sinema stories.)

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