Arizona’s Sinema says she was happy to play liaison role on debt ceiling negotiations

Jun 8, 2023, 1:42 PM | Updated: 1:49 pm

(Getty Images Photos)...

(Getty Images Photos)

(Getty Images Photos)

PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona said Thursday her role in helping push forward negotiations on lifting the nation’s debt ceiling was to be a liaison, a position she was happy to fill.

On Saturday, President Joe Biden signed legislation lifting the ceiling, averting an unprecedented default on the federal government’s debt after weeks of intense talks.

“My job during that three-week process was really to be a liaison between the two groups, to help them understand what the other side needed and to help think of creative ways to help meet each party’s needs,” Sinema said.

“I was happy to do it but, boy, it was long hours.”

The White House and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy went back and forth ahead of last week’s agreement, with both sides failing to back down on their demands.

Sinema, an independent and former Democrat, said her friendship with McCarthy and familiarity with White House officials gave her a unique position to help broker a deal.

She added that her communication with McCarthy ramped up over the past month.

“That’s the role I try to play every day here in the United States Senate, which is to try and make the place function and make it work and make life a little bit better for Arizona,” Sinema said.

Sinema said the deal wasn’t perfect, but it was workable.

The final agreement suspends the debt limit until 2025 — after the next presidential election — and restricts government spending.

It gives lawmakers budget targets for the next two years in hopes of assuring fiscal stability as the political season heats up.

“Is it a deal that can be implemented fairly by people on both sides of the political spectrum? Yes, to be honest,” Sinema said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Arizona’s Sinema says she was happy to play liaison role on debt ceiling negotiations