Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) was hailed by the Democratic Party when she was elected from largely conservative Arizona as a standard-bearer for the “new” Democratic electoral presence. However, she has turned out a big disappointment to the most leftward and progressive party members. Her central position in the Democrat infighting over Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda has only enhanced her place as a troublemaker for the Bernie Sanders crowd.
Sinema has continued to state her position in support of maintaining the filibuster rule in the Senate, despite the urging of many radicals in her party to go along with scrapping the law designed to protect the minority position. That minority position, of course, inevitably changes party affiliation from time to time, a fact that looks to be lost on many of the most aggressive progressives.
The Biden administration and most Democrats are pressing a narrative that Sinema and moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) impede negotiations by refusing to state their positions clearly. The party at large wants to make the impression that they are ready to compromise. Sinema and Manchin have not already laid out their boundaries on policy and spending proposals.
Sinema is now joining Manchin in fighting back against that narrative by making it clear again where she stands. She has been unequivocal about leaving the filibuster in place and her opposition to many parts of the massive $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill being negotiated. She has said which details of the climate change, drug pricing, and tax revisions she opposes.
She has even gone into detail in describing how she has made more efforts to discuss her positions with the White House rather than other members of Congress. She has emphasized that she has done so because Joe Biden is the proper person to manage negotiations and is the person who most needs to know exactly where she stands.
A source inside the White House has expressed frustration in the different positions taken by Manchin and Sinema on some key points. The administration still struggles with the reality that if the two senators differ on what can be included in the reconciliation bill, areas with no consensus are not likely to get done.
At least Republicans are currently able to stand on the sidelines while Democrats wreck the monstrous spending spree before it gets off the ground.