Arizona’s Sinema says she ‘shut out noise’ to help build $1T infrastructure bill
PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona said Monday the lengthy process to bring the $1 trillion infrastructure bill to light wasn’t possible without working across the aisle and tuning out criticism that has followed in recent months.
Sinema, who spoke at the White House ahead of President Joe Biden’s signing ceremony, was in the spotlight as a lead Democratic negotiator for the historic legislation that is a cornerstone of Biden’s agenda.
Biden called Sinema “the most determined woman I know” during his speech for the bill, which had 19 Senate votes and 13 House votes that came from Republicans.
“Delivering this legislation for the American people is what it looks like when elected leaders set aside their differences, shut out the noise and focus on delivering results on the issues that matter the most to everyday Americans,” Sinema said.
The president initially sought $2.3 trillion for infrastructure but had to settle for a package less than half that size after negotiations among members of both parties, including Sinema.
Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, a member of the 10-person bipartisan group of senators that routinely met to advance progress, added that Sinema’s persistence was key in the bill’s passage.
The Senate passed the plan in August before the House approved it earlier this month.
“How many times have we heard that bipartisanship isn’t possible anymore or that important policy can only happen on a party line?” Sinema said.
“Our legislation proved the opposite and the senators who negotiated this legislation showed how to get things done.”
Arizona’s cut from the bill provides funds to rebuild roads and bridges, and also to shore up coastlines against climate change, protect public utility systems from cyberattacks and modernize the electric grid.
Public transit, airports and freight rail also get boosts.