Kyrsten Sinema has been accused of “hanging her constituents out to dry” by a group of five military veterans who quit her advisory board on Thursday.
The veterans slammed Ms Sinema as one of the “principal obstacles to progress” in an open letter announcing their resignation.
The Arizona Senator has been a thorn in the side of Democratic attempts to pass a $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better Bill”, confounding her colleagues by refusing to say which parts of the legislation she supports.
Presiden Joe Biden’s signature piece of legislation was designed to usher in a sweeping new agenda, including new green energy climate funding, increased child-tax credits and bolstering social security payments.
Ms Sinema and fellow centrist Senator Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, have forced Mr Biden to concede that the final price tag will be much smaller, likely around $2 trillion – largely paid for with higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy, those earning more than $400,000 per year.
Ms Sinema, a former left-wing activist, has said she opposes any increase in corporate tax hikes.
In the letter to Ms Sinema, first reported by The New York Times, the veterans expressed deep frustration with her failure to support prescription drug negotiations, refusal to change the Senate filibuster to protect voting rights, and for not voting on the January 6 commission.
“You have become one of the principal obstacles to progress, answering to big donors rather than your own people,” they wrote.
“We shouldn’t have to buy representation from you, and your failure to stand by your people and see their urgent needs is alarming.”
“We do not know who has your ear, but it clearly isn’t us or your constituents,” they added.
The group said they felt “as though we are merely given performative titles and used as window dressing for your own image – not as resources to provide counsel on what’s best for veterans.”
“We no longer feel you are aligned with our values, and we cannot in good faith continue to serve on your council,” they said.
Ms Sinema told CNN in a statement that she would “always remain grateful for these individuals’ service to our nation,” and had valued their input to her work.
“While it is unfortunate that apparent disagreement on separate policy issues has led to this decision,” she said.
“I thank 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.”
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