Sen. Sinema on Filibuster: It ‘Ensures That Millions of Americans Represented by the Minority Process Have a Voice’
“And yet, it is important to recognize that disagreements are okay. They are normal – and honest disagreements matched with a willingness to listen and learn can help us forge sturdy and enduring solutions.”
I love it when people think they can sway Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). I do not always agree with her but I like that she listens to her constituents and sticks to her guns. She’s also not nasty or rude.
Sinema spoke for 19 minutes on the Senate floor today, reiterating her support for the filibuster. You need 60 votes to stop a filibuster.
Sinema agrees with the voting bills the Senate will soon consider in the chamber. But she won’t “support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country.”
KTAR News has the full transcript. Some of the best parts:
But what is the legislative filibuster other than a tool that requires new federal policy to be broadly supported by Senators representing a broader cross-section of Americans – a guardrail, inevitably viewed as an obstacle by whoever holds the Senate majority, but which in reality ensures that millions of Americans represented by the minority party have a voice in the process?
Demands to eliminate this threshold (from whichever party holds the fleeting majority) amount to a group of people separated on two sides of a canyon, shouting to their colleagues that the solution to their shared challenges is to make that rift both wider and deeper.
Consider this: in recent years, nearly every party-line response to the problems we face in this body, every partisan action taken to protect a cherished value, has led us to more division, not less.
The impact is clear for all to see – the steady escalation of tit-for-tat, in which each new majority weakens the guardrails of the Senate and excludes input from the other party, furthering resentment and anger amongst this body and our constituents at home.
Democrats’ increased use of requiring cloture for judicial nominees under President George W. Bush led to similar tactics by Republicans under President Barack Obama.
The 2013 decision by Senate Democrats to eliminate the 60-vote threshold for most judicial and presidential nominations led directly to a response in 2017 by Senate Republicans, who eliminated the threshold for Supreme Court nominees.
These short-sighted actions by both parties have led to our current American Judiciary and Supreme Court, which, as I stand here today, is considering questions regarding fundamental rights Americans have enjoyed for decades.
Eliminating the 60-vote threshold – on a party line with the thinnest of possible majorities – to pass these bills that I support will not guarantee that we prevent demagogues from winning office.
Indeed, some who undermine the principles of democracy have already been elected.
Rather, eliminating the 60-vote threshold will simply guarantee that we lose a critical tool that we need to safeguard our democracy from threats in the years to come.
Sinema seems to be the only one who remembers and understands why President George Washington hated political parties.
Sinema also seems to be the only one who remembers that Americans are not robots. We all feel and think differently. You guys would be shocked to know that Professor Jacobson and I do not agree on everything. (Cats are better than dogs, Boss!)
Anyway, this is a great part:
It is easy for elected officials to give speeches about what they believe. It is harder to listen and acknowledge that there are a whole lot of Americans with different ideas about what is important in our country and how to solve those problems.
And yet, it is important to recognize that disagreements are okay. They are normal – and honest disagreements matched with a willingness to listen and learn can help us forge sturdy and enduring solutions.
Congress was designed to bring together Americans of diverse views, representing different interests and – as a collective – to find compromise and common ground to serve our country as a whole.
We face serious challenges, and meeting them must start with a willingness to be honest, to listen to one another, to lower the political temperature, and to seek lasting solutions.
Some have given up on the goal of easing our divisions and uniting Americans. I have not.
I’ve worked hard to demonstrate in my public service the value of working with unlikely allies to get results – helping others see our common humanity and finding our common ground.
And I remain stubbornly optimistic, because this is America. We have overcome every challenge we’ve ever faced.
I am committed to doing my part to avoid toxic political rhetoric, to build bridges, to forge common ground, and to achieve lasting results for Arizona and this country.
The Democrats all of them to eliminate the 60-vote threshold, but we know for sure Sinema is a no. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is also a likely no. There are a few quiet ones, too, like Sinema’s Arizona colleague, Mark Kelly.DONATE
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