Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema says Republican-backed debt bill won’t pass in Senate but was progress

Apr 27, 2023, 11:39 AM

(Getty Images Photos)...

(Getty Images Photos)

(Getty Images Photos)

PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona said Thursday a sweeping debt ceiling package passed a day earlier by House Republicans won’t have support in the Senate.

Sinema told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News the bill’s House passage is an encouraging sign legislation could make it through in the future, but this iteration won’t be it.

“There’s no world in which that bill was designed to get a vote in the United States Senate,” Sinema said. “The design of the bill was to start a conversation for negotiations between the president and [House] Speaker Kevin McCarthy.”

Joe Biden has threatened to veto the Republican package and the president has so far refused to negotiate over the debt ceiling, which the White House insists must be lifted with no strings to ensure America pays its bills.

The bill would raise the government’s legal debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion in exchange for steep spending restrictions.

Failure to reach an agreement would result in a catastrophic federal default this summer.

“[McCarthy] accomplished what he needed to do yesterday, which is to pass a bill showing that he had 118 votes in order to move something forward,” Sinema said.

Sinema, an independent, is hoping lawmakers from both sides of the aisle will start to make progress toward an agreement.

The nation has never defaulted on its debt, which is now at $31 trillion.

“There’s a handful of us who are interested in bringing down the debt and being fiscally responsible regardless of which party is in charge,” Sinema said. “We’re a small but I hope mighty group.

“My hope is that we actually have earnest, realistic discussions that actually move the ball forward on constraining spending, on making decisions about priorities and about bringing down our national debt.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema says Republican-backed debt bill won’t pass in Senate but was progress