Kirsten Sinema has indicated – or simply confirmed — that the push by Democrats to change Senate rules to allow voting rights legislation to pass is indeed doomed.
In a speech to the Senate delivered shortly before Joe Biden was supposed to arrive on Capitol Hill to try to force the debate, the Arizona senator noted“While I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that aggravate the underlying disease of division that infects our country.”
Those separate actions would involve abolishing or changing the filibuster, the minority-empowering rule by setting a 60-vote threshold for most laws.
The Senate is split 50-50 and controlled by Democrats through the Vice President, Kamala Harris. Democratic senators represent far more voters than Republican senators, a point often made by supporters of filibuster reform.
Democrats favoring the change also point out that federal legislation is needed to counter Republican attempts to restrict voting among minorities who tend to favor Democrats, through restrictive state-level laws.
Voter suppression laws are also in question, as Republicans who support that of Donald Trump big lie on election fraud seek to install allies in key positions and facilitate the cancellation of election results.
Nevertheless, Sinema and his moderate comrades Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, have remained staunchly opposed to filibuster reform — even though both support some form of protection for the federal franchise.
They fear the ramifications of filibuster reform if and when Republicans regain the chamber, which could well happen later this year. Some observers suggest this is naive, as Republicans under Mitch McConnell, a man who has made constitutional hardball an art form, might just blast the filibuster himself.
Anyway, without Sinema and Manchin, all efforts on the issue of Biden and the majority leader, chuck schumer of New York, are doomed to failure.