Five veterans serving on an advisory council for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) resigned en masse on Thursday, tying their departures to the Senator’s relentless obstruction of the Biden agenda. Because of the current party breakdown across Congress, Democrats could pass a sweeping social reform bill entirely on their own, providing boosts of federal financial support to initiatives from fighting climate change to child care — but Democratic leaders can not afford to lose a single vote in the closely divided Senate. Thus, Sinema — who has established her opposition to the originally proposed plan — could derail the president’s agenda on her own.
The veterans who resigned from the Sinema advisory council characterized her as “hanging your constituents out to dry.” In their letter, they specifically cited Sinema’s obstruction of the social spending plan and her support of the Senate’s filibuster rules as they currently stand. According to those rules, at least 60 Senators in the 100-member chamber must be in agreement before moving forward on most bills (excluding certain spending-related proposals, like the sweeping social reform initiative in question). Thus, most successful legislation has to be at least somewhat bipartisan — but Senate Republicans aren’t exactly known for their bipartisanship. Sinema is essentially handing power to Mitch McConnell.
In the veterans’ letter, they also said (addressing Sinema) that “you have become one of the principal obstacles to progress, answering to big donors rather than your own people,” adding that constituents “shouldn’t have to buy representation from you, and your failure to stand by your people and see their urgent needs is alarming.” Sylvia González Andersh, who was one of the veterans who resigned from the Sinema advisory group and signed onto the letter, added as follows to The New York Times:
‘Democrats were out desperately trying to help her win the seat, and now we feel like, what was it for? Nobody knows what she is thinking because she doesn’t tell anybody anything. It’s very sad to think that someone who you worked for that hard to get elected is not even willing to listen.’
Sinema said in response to the veterans’ decisions that she “thank[s] them for their service and will continue working every day to deliver for Arizona’s veterans who have sacrificed so much to keep us safe and secure.” In Arizona, outrage against Sinema is continuing to grow — a political action committee (PAC) called the Primary Sinema PAC even recently sprung up, providing a front for opponents of the Senator’s antics to gather around while formulating a plan to hold her accountable. She could be vulnerable to a Democratic primary challenge.