Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona is facing new blowback from a powerful interest group over her opposition to changing Senate rules to advance voting rights legislation – with Emily’s List threatening she will be ‘standing alone’ in her next election.
The group, which backs pro-choice women across the country, released a statement warning Sinema on Tuesday, as Senate Democrats were meeting on their strategy on a push for voting rights legislation that is likely doomed by opposition from Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).
‘We have not endorsed or contributed to Sen. Sinema since her election in 2018. Right now, Sen. Sinema’s decision to reject the voices of allies, partners and constituents who believe the importance of voting rights outweighs that of an arcane process means she will find herself standing alone in the next election,’ the group said in a statement.
Pro-choice group Emily’s List said it would not support Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) if she doesn’t address its concerns with her position on changing the filibuster to act on voting rights legislation
‘EMILY’s List is laser-focused on the 2022 elections–holding the House and Senate, electing governors and state legislators,’ the group said. ‘Understanding that access to the ballot box and confidence in election results are critical to our work and our country, we have joined with many others to impress upon Sen. Sinema the importance of the pending voting rights legislation in the Senate. So far those concerns have not been addressed.
The move comes after Sinema announced her opposition to changing the filibuster in a fiery floor speech last week – just before President Joe Biden came to the Capitol to make the case for acting.
Progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told Capitol Hill reporters that he would back primary challenges against each of them
Democratic Senator Kyrsten Simena made it clear last week she will not support a call from her party leaders to kill the filibuster in order to pass voting rights legislation
Activists sit on the steps of the US Capitol during a rally for voters’ rights on Capitol Hill January 18, 2022, in Washington, DC. Democrats were expected to plow ahead January 18 with an almost certainly doomed effort to enact sweeping voting rights reforms they argue would protect democracy against threats posed by Republicans
President Joe Biden flew to Atlanta to demand action on voting rights and called for changing the filibuster
Sinema is already facing a potential primary challenge, after she and Manchin have drawn Democratic fury by refusing to support Biden’s $2.8 trillion Build Back Better plan.
Progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told Capitol Hill reporters that he would back primary challenges against each of them. ‘Well, yeah,’ he responded when asked.
‘Legislators are moving aggressively to suppress the vote and to impose extreme gerrymandering among many other things. And anybody who believes in American democracy has got to vote to enable us to go forward with 50 votes to suspend the filibuster, at least on this vote,’ Sanders said.
He called it ‘enormously important,’ adding: ‘I hope we have 50 votes, if we don’t, they’re gonna have to go home and explain to their constituents.’
Sanders added that he believed there was a ‘good chance’ people in those states would support a primary challenger against the two moderates.
Sinema focused her remarks last week on healing divisive politics in the nation, even as fellow Democrats are demanding a rules change to roll back a Republican filibuster that has four times blocked action on legislation Sinema said she supports.
‘Our mandate, it seems, evident to me: work together and get stuff done for America,’ Sinema said. ‘We must address the disease itself, the disease of division, to protect our democracy, and it cannot be achieved by one party alone,’ she said. ‘The response requires something greater and, yes, more difficult than what the Senate is discussing today.’
‘When one party needs to only negotiate with itself, policy will inextricably be pushed from the middle towards the extremes,’ she added.
‘The steady escalation of tip 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,’ she added.
She said ending the filibuster ‘to pass these bills that I support will not guarantee that we prevent demagogues from winning office.’
The blast from Emily’s list was a turnaround from 2018, when it congratulated her on her election win.
‘Over a year of hard work and talking to Arizonans paid off, and EMILY’s List is thrilled to congratulate Kyrsten Sinema on her incredible victory,’ the group said.
It called her a ‘bipartisan leader.’
‘In the U.S. Senate, she will continue being the fighter that Arizona’s working families deserve,’ it said, in a statement reflecting general progressive enthusiasm for Sinema, a former party activist who ran on combating climate change and other issues.