Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) was censured by the executive board of the Arizona Democratic Party this weekend over her recent decision to back the Senate’s filibuster rules over the push by Democratic leaders to get new protections for voting rights passed at the federal level. Democrats put forward a proposal to change the filibuster rules to make members of the Republican minority have to continuously talk to keep up their opposition; after they’d stopped talking, the process would’ve moved to a final vote. Ordinarily, members of the minority wishing to block progress can make a one-time expression of their opposition and be done with it. The 100-member Senate’s filibuster rules normally require 60 votes to move forward with most bills.
NEW: Arizona Democratic Party exec committee formally censures @SenatorSinema
— Meg Cunningham (@Meg_Cunn) January 22, 2022
Only Sinema and Joe Manchin of West Virginia (among the Senate Democrats) voted against changing the filibuster rules, joining every Senate Republican. The current party breakdown in the Senate means that every Democrat needed to agree for the rules change to succeed. Censure constitutes a formal expression of opposition from the party. Arizona Democratic Party Chair Raquel Terán commented as follows:
‘I want to be clear, the Arizona Democratic Party is a diverse coalition with plenty of room for policy disagreements, however on the matter of the filibuster and the urgency to protect voting rights, we have been crystal clear. In the choice between an archaic legislative norm and protecting Arizonans’ right to vote, we choose the latter, and we always will… While we take no pleasure in this announcement, the ADP Executive Board has decided to formally censure Senator Sinema as a result of her failure to do whatever it takes to ensure the health of our democracy.’
Check out the statement from Terán below:
— Arizona Democratic Party (@azdemparty) January 22, 2022
Opposition to Sinema is growing among Democrats. A recent survey indicated that just eight percent of Arizona Democratic respondents had a favorable view of Sinema — just eight! There’s a growing push for a primary challenge to Sinema in the next race for her seat, and Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), someone who could take on Sinema, hasn’t ruled out launching such a challenge. At the federal level, President Joe Biden has indicated that he and his administration intend to keep up the fight for voting rights. After Sinema’s disappointing vote, Biden said that his team “will continue to work with allies to advance necessary legislation to protect the right to vote. And to push for Senate procedural changes that will protect the fundamental right to vote.” Electing additional Democratic Senators could help overcome the challenges posed by Sinema and Manchin’s persistence. The Cook Political Report rates three currently GOP-held Senate seats as toss-ups ahead of the midterms — although they rate three Democratic-held seats the same way.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is facing new heat from those who helped elect her after she and Sen. Joe Manchin this week were the only two Democrats to vote against filibuster reform, effectively derailing passage of voting rights legislation. https://t.co/Cb754uoXff
— ABC News (@ABC) January 22, 2022