Arizona Democratic Party executive board censures Sinema
The executive board of the Arizona Democratic Party (ADP) censured Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) after she and fellow moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) joined their 50 Republican colleagues this week to block Democrats’ attempts to change the filibuster in order to pass voting rights legislation.
“I want to be clear, the Arizona Democratic Party is a diverse coalition with plenty of room for policy disagreements, however on the matter of the filibuster and the urgency to protect voting rights, we have been crystal clear. In the choice between an archaic legislative norm and protecting Arizonans’ right to vote, we choose the latter, and we always will,” Arizona Democratic Party Chair Raquel Terán said in a statement.
She said that while she appreciated Sinema’s efforts in helping pass the bipartisan infrastructure legislation and the American Rescue Plan, she noted that the consequences were “too large and far-reaching” if legislation protecting the right to vote was not passed.
“While we take no pleasure in this announcement, the ADP Executive Board has decided to formally censure Senator Sinema as a result of her failure to do whatever it takes to ensure the health of our democracy,” Terán said.
A resolution passed by the Arizona Democratic Party last September criticized Sinema for her position supporting the 60-vote legislative filibuster needed for Senate to pass legislation, and called her argument for keeping it in place “laughable.”
In a recent speech from the Senate floor, Sinema reiterated her support for the 60-vote rule, citing deep political divisions in America.
The Arizona Democrat said that she supported voting rights legislation “because they strengthen Americans’ access to the ballot box and they better ensure that Americans’ votes are counted fairly – it is through elections that Americans make their voices heard, select their representatives, and guide the future of our country and our communities.”
“And while I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country,” she added later. “The debate over the Senate’s 60-vote threshold shines a light on our broader challenges.”
The resolution stated that the Arizona Democratic Party would "closely watch" her votes in the upcoming weeks.
It added that if she did not vote in favor of changing filibuster rules to change key Democratic priorities like voting rights legislation and continued "to delay, disrupt, or votes to gut the Reconciliation Package of its necessary funding" she would be given a vote of no confidence and the possibility of a vote to censure her.
"During three terms in the U.S. House, and now in the Senate, Kyrsten has always promised Arizonans she would be an independent voice for the state — not for either political party. She’s delivered for Arizonans and has always been honest about where she stands," a Sinema spokesperson told The Hill in a statement.
The remarks come as Senate Democrats suffered a stinging defeat earlier this week after they failed to change filibuster rules to pass voting rights legislation by a simple majority.
Sinema, Manchin and all 50 Republicans in the Senate voted against changing those filibuster rules — a result that was expected.
Filibuster reform, which would require all 50 Senate Democrats and a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Harris, is seen as a tool to overcome Democrats’ hurdle in passing their key priorities.
“We'll address that when we get past this week,” the progressive Democrat replied on Tuesday.