Democrat Senator Krysten Sinema penned an op-ed defending the filibuster as a tool for democracy and pointing out that her own party has used it to further negotiations “toward better solutions.”
Her column, which ran in the Washington Post on Monday, defended her opposition to abolishing the filibuster, arguing that to do so would weaken “democracy’s guardrails.”
“My support for retaining the 60-vote threshold is not based on the importance of any particular policy,” Sinema explained. “It is based on what is best for our democracy.”
“The filibuster compels moderation and helps protect the country from wild swings between opposing policy poles,” she continued.
“I will not support an action that damages our democracy.”
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The filibuster is designed to prolong debate and delay or prevent a vote on a bill.
Ending debate requires the agreement of three-fifths (60) of Senators, or in today’s Congressional makeup – 10 Republicans would have to join the majority party.
But, Sinema argues, just because Democrats are in the majority now, it doesn’t mean they should push forward with eliminating a tool for the minority party to contribute to the process.
“Once in a majority, it is tempting to believe you will stay in the majority,” she writes.
“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,” argues Sinema.
“Those filibusters were mounted not as attempts to block progress, but to force continued negotiations toward better solutions.”
Democrats used the filibuster numerous times throughout former President Donald Trump’s tenure. Now, they want it gone, claiming Republicans are using it to “stop democracy.”
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Sinema’s op-ed is a major blow to Democrat efforts to pass H.R. 1, or the ‘For the People Act,’ a bill supported by President Biden that would nationalize election laws.
The legislation has been described by Hans von Spakovsky, an American attorney and a former member of the Federal Election Commission, as a federal takeover of elections.
“It would change election rules to make it easier to cheat and easier to manipulate election results,” von Spakovsky states.
Sinema and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) are viewed as the only two Democrats willing to defy their party’s power-grab – a power-grab in which they refuse to engage in bipartisan discussions.
The bill might be the only hope for Democrats in trying to stave off Republican control of the House and Senate come 2022.
Manchin published an op-ed of his own in the Charleston Gazette-Mail earlier this month in which he said he would not vote for H.R. 1 because it includes ending the filibuster.
In the op-ed, Manchin, too argues that Democrats have found the filibuster to be a necessity in debating legislative items when Republicans were in the majority.
“I will not vote to weaken or eliminate the filibuster,” Manchin declared, adding that his own party is trying “to demonize” it and are determined to “conveniently ignore how it has been critical to protecting the rights of Democrats in the past.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) believes H.R. 1 “has nothing to do about the pandemic, putting people back to work or kids back in school,” but “everything to do about them (Democrats) keeping their power.”
The Senate is preparing to vote Tuesday on the massive voting rights package.
The Daily Mail reports that Joe Manchin – and now Krysten Sinema’s opposition to abolishing the filibuster – “would kill” H.R. 1’s chances of passing.
Manchin though has requested some changes to the bill, and Democrat leaders spent the weekend “working to come up with an agreement to compromise with” him.
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