Pressure keeps mounting on Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to help kill the filibuster so that President Biden can push his agenda unopposed. After one of her top supporters publicly rebuked her last week, at least three dozen Democrats in Sinema’s state are pleading with her to go along with the party line.
In a letter sent to the senator this week, members of Arizona’s state House and Senate argued that Republicans are enacting voter suppression bills across the nation and tasked Sinema with helping to pass the Democrats’ voting rights bill.
“The 2020 general election saw record-breaking levels of voter participation across the country,” the letter read, as reported by HuffPost. “But instead of celebrating this historic achievement, our freedom to vote is being threatened in state legislatures across the country.”
The group further warned Sinema that current voter legislation being pushed in Arizona “will disproportionately impact young voters, low-income voters, and voters of color.”
Though Sinema co-sponsored the voting rights legislation, she has refused to help kill the filibuster, arguing that it “protects the democracy of our nation.”
“As folks in Arizona know, I’ve long been a supporter of the filibuster because it is a tool that protects the democracy of our nation, rather than allowing our country to ricochet wildly every two to four years back and forth between policies,” Sinema told reporters last week.
“When you have a system that’s not working effectively, and I would think that most would agree that the Senate’s not a particularly well-oiled machine, right? The way to fix that is to change your behavior, not to eliminate the rules or change the rules, but to change your behavior,” Sinema added. “So I’m going to continue to go to work every day, aggressively seeking bipartisanship in a cheerful and happy warrior way, as I always do, and showing that when we work together, we can get things done.”
The letter went on to remind Sinema that the bill – the For the People Act – will die in the U.S. Senate if she continues to let Republicans obstruct the process.
“Given Republican obstruction, the bill will die in the U.S. Senate unless members are willing to work outside the box. We call on you to do everything necessary, up to and including reforming the filibuster, to pass the ‘For the People Act.’ Our democracy is too important to be sacrificed at the altar of archaic and anti-democratic Senate procedures such as the filibuster,” the letter asserted. “As fellow Arizona legislators we are calling upon you with respect and urgency to stand up in this crucial moment for our state and for our country to make the promise of democracy real for us all.”
The letter comes after former Arizona Attorney General Grant Wood, a major backer of Sinema during her run for U.S. Senate, publicly rebuked the senator in an interview with HuffPost last week.
“I do think that Sen. Sinema and every senator should support ending the filibuster for the voting rights bill,” he said. “To keep the Jim Crow filibuster while losing some of these basic voting rights that are central to our democracy is preposterous.”