Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Sinema And The Filibuster


What can you say about someone as obstinately immune to history, logic and reality as Kyrsten Sinema:

My support for retaining the 60-vote threshold is not based on the importance of any particular policy. It is based on what is best for our democracy. The filibuster compels moderation and helps protect the country from wild swings between opposing policy poles.

To those who want to eliminate the legislative filibuster to pass the For the People Act (voting-rights legislation I support and have co-sponsored), I would ask: Would it be good for our country if we did, only to see that legislation rescinded a few years from now and replaced by a nationwide voter-ID law or restrictions on voting by mail in federal elections, over the objections of the minority?

"We can't pass legislation because it might someday be repealed, so why bother?!"  OMFG.

Her op/ ed was published today, one day after meeting with President Biden at the White House. For now, we don't know if any light penetrated the void as a result.

Paul Blumenthal has a reality check:

The idea, espoused by [Sen. Joe] Manchin, that hyperpartisan gamesmanship is a result of eliminating the filibuster is upside-down. Hyperpartisan gamesmanship preceded former Senate Democratic Leader Reid’s elimination of the filibuster in 2013 for lower court and executive branch nominees in the form of the abuse of the filibuster.

The filibuster does not just impede bipartisan compromise. It also feeds partisanship by allowing lawmakers to signal support for legislation even if they don’t actually want to work to pass it. This is true for partisan bills, which senators can voice support for to please issue-based voters, while avoiding having to reveal how they would really vote on the matter since most bills that can’t get to 60 votes will never make it to the Senate floor.

Similarly, the filibuster increases partisanship by decreasing the likelihood of minority party lawmakers seeking to negotiate on behalf of their constituents for concessions in return for their vote. 

As seen with the infrastructure negotiations, the credible threat of passing Democrats’ priorities without Republican input through reconciliation ― a process that allows some bills to pass with only 50 votes ― is encouraging some negotiation and compromise.
Read that highlighted sentence above again and you'll recognize Sinema as one of those lawmakers.

On the page following Sinema's poorly argued essay, the editorial board of the Washington Post says of the debate that Republicans are likely to squelch today on voting rights legislation, including Sen. Manchin's For the People Act compromise:

Mr. Manchin’s reforms deserve a full hearing and an up-or-down vote. If his proposal does not get its due, Democrats should consider reforming the filibuster. There is no shortage of ideas about how to adjust the procedural maneuver without abolishing it, such as demanding that minority senators show up to sustain their filibusters; requiring three-fifths of present and voting senators to end a filibuster, rather than three-fifths of all senators; or reducing the number of votes needed to overcome filibusters. These are just a few possibilities.

If Republicans will not permit a vote on even the most obvious of pro-voting reforms, something needs to change. Senators should be cautious in reshaping the chamber’s rules — but not to a fault.

She's out of touch with her own party and Arizona voters on the issue of filibuster reform, so it begs the question, is Sinema that dense, or has someone or something gotten to her?  

Here's an ad running in Arizona now:


So, why are you doing the Republicans' dirty work, Sen. Sinema?

BONUS:  Ari Berman lays out the reality Sinema refuses to acknowledge --

It just seems like we are still witnessing a huge game of asymmetric warfare here where there is a 60 vote supermajority requirement in the Senate to pass any legislation protecting voting rights, but in the states Republicans are unilaterally making it harder to vote with a simple majority on party-line votes.

States like Sinema's Arizona, for instance.

BONUS II:  Greg Sargent has another swing at her illogic.




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