Progressives’ frustration with centrist Kyrsten Sinema boils over: ‘One senator is holding up the will of the entire Democratic Party’

‘Why is it that one senator should have this much power’ asks Democratic congressman Ro Khanna

John Bowden
Wednesday 29 September 2021 22:50 BST
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Arizona senator Kyrsten Sinema, one of the most conservative members of the Senate’s Democratic caucus, is the subject of much consternation among her colleagues, angry at Ms Sinema for thwarting progress on President Joe Biden’s legislative plan to update America’s infrastructure and expand many social programs.

The senator is one of two holdouts seen as standing in the way of the passage of a $3.5 trillion bill, set to work its way through the Senate via reconciliation, a procedural tactic requiring a bare 51-vote majority rather than the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster. The other Democratic lawmaker is West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, who comes from a far more conservative state than Ms Sinema.

Ms Sinema’s state, Arizona, voted for Mr Biden in the 2020 presidential election, and the state’s other US senator has already committed to voting for the legislation. Mr Manchin is also seen by Senate Democratic leadership as more likely at the present time to vote for the bill, putting the focus squarely on Ms Sinema’s shoulders.

That anger felt by progressives exploded on to Twitter and in the press this week, as House members pilloried Ms Sinema and Mr Manchin alike for the sheer evasiveness with which they have responded to questions from the media and their own colleagues regarding their specific issues with the $3.5 trillion bill.

“The President keeps begging her, tell us what you want. Put a proposal forward,” Rep Ro Khanna, a California Democrat, told CNN on Tuesday.

“One Senator, Kyrsten Sinema, is holding up the will of the entire Democratic Party,” he said, adding, “Why is it that one senator should have this much power? We’re in a democracy.”

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