Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., reiterated her opposition to eliminating the Senate legislative filibuster in an opinion piece for The Washington Post on Monday.
Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., are the chamber’s two Democrats who have said they’re against killing the filibuster as progressives seek to pass sweeping legislation affecting voting rights and infrastructure.
The 100-seat Senate, currently divided evenly along party lines. requires 60 votes to advance most legislation.
"It's no secret that I oppose eliminating the Senate’s 60-vote threshold," Sinema wrote in her commentary posted to the Post's website Monday night. "I held the same view during three terms in the U.S. House, and said the same after I was elected to the Senate in 2018.
"If anyone expected me to reverse my position because my party now controls the Senate, they should know that my approach to legislating in Congress is the same whether in the minority or majority."
Sinema said the Senate should debate the filibuster so "our constituents can hear and fully consider the concerns and consequences."
She also said she agreed with 31 Senate Democrats who in 2017 expressed opposition to eliminating the filibuster.
On Sunday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who helped craft the current voting rights legislation, tweeted:
"An archaic Senate rule cannot get in the way of protecting our democracy. The filibuster is not worth it."
Sinema disagreed, warning Democratic colleagues to be careful about what they wish for.
"Once in a majority, it is tempting to believe you will stay in the majority," she said. "But a Democratic Senate minority used the 60-vote threshold just last year to filibuster a police reform proposal and a covid-relief bill that many Democrats viewed as inadequate. Those filibusters were mounted not as attempts to block progress, but to force continued negotiations toward better solutions.
"And to those who fear that Senate rules will change anyway as soon as the Senate majority changes: I will not support an action that damages our democracy because someone else did so previously or might do so in the future."
Progressives now are furious that President Joe Biden hasn’t pushed the Democrats' voting rights bill, expected to die in the Senate on Tuesday.
"To those who want to eliminate the legislative filibuster to pass the For the People Act (voting-rights legislation I support and have co-sponsored), I would ask: Would it be good for our country if we did, only to see that legislation rescinded a few years from now and replaced by a nationwide voter-ID law or restrictions on voting by mail in federal elections, over the objections of the minority?” said Sinema, who made similar arguments about health care, retirement benefits, environmental issues, and education.
"This question is less about the immediate results from any of these Democratic or Republican goals — it is the likelihood of repeated radical reversals in federal policy, cementing uncertainty, deepening divisions and further eroding Americans’ confidence in our government."
Sinema said the filibuster previously had been used "to protect against attacks on women's health, clean air and water, or aid to children and families in need."
She stressed "the best way to achieve durable, lasting results" is through bipartisan cooperation.
"I do not accept a new standard by which important legislation can only pass on party-line votes," she said, "and when my party is again in the Senate minority, I will work just as hard to preserve the right to shape legislation."
Sinema said her bipartisan approach is shared by many in her home state.
"Arizonans expect me to do what I promised when I ran for the House and the Senate: to be independent — like Arizona — and to work with anyone to achieve lasting results," Sinema wrote.
"Lasting results — rather than temporary victories, destined to be reversed, undermining the certainty that America’s families and employers depend on."
She also said during her time in Congress, bipartisanship led to, "laws curbing suicide among our troops and veterans, boosting American manufacturing, delivering for Native American communities, combating hate crimes, and protecting public lands."
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