Arizona’s Sinema after vote: Senate rule change would ‘risk repeated radical reversals’ in policy
PHOENIX — Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema after refusing to join her party in changing Senate rules to overcome a Republican filibuster for voting legislation Wednesday night said in a statement that the action would undermine confidence in government and lead to repeated repeals of policy.
While supporting the legislation, which would have included making Election Day a national holiday and ensuring access to early voting and mail-in ballots, Sinema joined Joe Manchin of West Virginia and all Republicans in not changing the rules to allow a simple majority to advance it.
“Tonight, I voted again to support legislation safeguarding and expanding Americans’ access to the ballot box and strengthening faith in our elections,” Sinema said in the statement.
“I also maintained my longstanding opposition to separate actions that would deepen our divisions and risk repeated radical reversals in federal policy, cementing uncertainty and further eroding confidence in our government.”
Sinema, who sat in her chair throughout much of the day’s debate largely on her phone, said in the statement that election challenges cannot be solved by one party or Washington alone.
“Tonight’s votes must not be the end of our work to protect our democracy,” Sinema said. “That goal requires all Americans everywhere to unite around sustained strategies in support of free, fair, and open elections in which every vote is fairly counted.
“Tonight also should not be the end of our efforts to make the Senate work better. Senators of both parties have offered ideas — including some that would earn my support — to make this body more productive, more deliberative, and more responsive to Americans’ needs.”
Sinema has long been against eliminating the filibuster, despite increasing pressure from those in her own party.
Fellow Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly voted in favor of the rule change.
Biden in a statement after the vote said he was “profoundly disappointed” but not deterred.
“My Administration will never stop fighting to ensure that the heart and soul of our democracy — the right to vote — is protected at all costs,” Biden said. “We will continue to work with allies to advance necessary legislation to protect the right to vote. And to push for Senate procedural changes that will protect the fundamental right to vote.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.