Kyrsten Sinema’s opposition to filibuster reform rests on a myth
Senate rules are fostering obstruction — not bipartisanship.As Norm Ornstein, a political scientist at the American Enterprise Institute, has emphasized, however, the belief that the filibuster fuels bipartisanship is one of many myths about the rule. The filibuster requires most bills to get 60 votes in order to proceed in the Senate, but it’s often used as a tool to obstruct legislation, not foster it.
Martin Luther King III reacted to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's (D-Ariz.) Thursday announcement that she will not support a change to the Senate filibuster, writing in a statement that history will remember the Arizona Democrat "unkindly." © Bonnie Cash MLK III says 'history will remember Sen. Sinema unkindly' after she rejects filibuster change
"History will remember Senator Sinema unkindly. While Sen. Sinema remains stubborn in her 'optimism,' Black and Brown Americans are losing their right to vote," King III wrote in a statement shortly after Sinema's floor speech regarding the filibuster.
"She's siding with the legacy of Bull Connor and George Wallace instead of the legacy of my father and all those who fought to make real our democracy," King III added.
McConnell’s Threat to Go Nuclear on Democrats Is Nonsense
After President Joe Biden appealed to Senate Democrats this week to eliminate the filibuster, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell played a familiar card: If Democrats eliminate the filibuster now they will regret it when Republicans control the Senate later. McConnell’s threats of political retribution have long made Democrats uneasy, and the looming specter of legislative payback is central to the arguments of Democratic centrist senators in favor of preserving the 60-vote threshold. But McConnell’s threats of political payback shouldn’t even register in Democrats’ minds as a reason to keep the filibuster around. In fact, they are largely empty.
Sinema doubled down on her support for the 60-vote legislative filibuster on Thursday, saying during a floor speech, "I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country."
She said she has had "long-standing support" for the filibuster, adding, "It is the view I continue to hold."
"Eliminating the 60-vote threshold will simply guarantee that we lose a critical tool that we need to safeguard our democracy," Sinema said.
Shortly after Sinema reaffirmed her stance on the filibuster, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) followed suit, writing in a statement "I will vote no to eliminate or weaken the filibuster."
Sinema and Manchin's resistance to filibuster reform, though expected, dealt a blow to Senate Democrats who saw amending the procedure as a way to enact voting rights legislation amid GOP opposition.
Manchin and Sinema Must Face 'Consequences' for Stalling Voting Rights, Democratic Rep Says
Representative Adriano Espaillat said "much must be done to push these two senators to line up and be in lock-step with our leadership."This week, Manchin and Sinema reiterated their support for the Senate filibuster—a rule that Biden and other Democrats want to change in order to pass voting rights bills—delivering a major setback for the president's agenda. The filibuster requires lawmakers in the Senate to reach a 60-vote threshold to advance legislation. The Democratic majority only holds 50 seats in the chamber.
Fifty votes are needed to change Senate rules, meaning that in the 50-50-split upper chamber, all Democrats must be behind the effort for it to succeed.
President Biden recognized the dampened chances the party now has for passing election reform, telling reporters after a meeting with Senate Democrats regarding the filibuster, "The honest-to-God answer is I don't know whether we can get this done."
"I hope we can get this done but I'm not sure," he added.
The House passed a voting rights bill on Thursday in a party-line vote, sending it to the Senate for consideration. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said he plans to force a vote on changing Senate rules by Jan. 17 if Republicans again block voting rights legislation, though he did not outline how he will take on such an effort.
King III and a coalition of grassroots organizations, nonetheless, are planning a concerted push for voting rights legislation in the coming days to coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which falls on Jan. 17.
Schumer vows to push forward with filibuster change: 'The fight is not over'
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday vowed to move forward with a likely doomed effort to change Senate filibuster rules as part of an effort to pass voting rights legislation.Schumer - speaking at a National Action Network event with Al Sharpton, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and others - acknowledged that the bid to change the legislative filibuster is a "tough fight" but said he and other Democrats would push ahead. The Democratic leader's remarks come after Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) reiterated last week that they don't support changing the Senate rule, which requires 60 votes for most bills to advance.
King III, the son of King Jr., and his family are planning to join the annual D.C. Peace Walk in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 17. King III's family and local groups are also planning on gathering with supporters in Phoenix, Ariz.
Arndrea Waters King, the wife of King III, suggested that Sinema's opposition to changing the filibuster will extend the years "of white supremacy's chokehold on our democracy."
"When the 1891 civil rights bill was filibustered, it ushered in 100 years of Jim Crow. If Senator Sinema's position remains, she'll extend that century of white supremacy's chokehold on our democracy," King said in a statement.
"We'll be in Phoenix this weekend to remind Senator Sinema what Dr. King once said: 'The time is always right to do what is right,'" she added.
Sinema censured by Arizona Democrats for blocking voting rights legislation .
The Arizona Democratic Party's executive board announced Saturday that it formally censured Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema for voting to maintain the Senate's filibuster rules, effectively blocking Democrats' voting legislation that is a key priority for the party. © Senate TV The symbolic gesture Saturday from Arizona Democrats adds to the mounting pressure Sinema is facing from those in her state who helped her flip a Senate seat in 2018. Sinema -- who started her political career as a progressive -- has been a target on the left during Biden's administration for her stances. Sinema and Sen.