Sen. Sinema censured by Arizona Democrats for standing by filibuster

Ana Monteiro
Bloomberg

Arizona Democrats censured U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema for declining to back measures that could have boosted the chances of passing a voting-rights bill backed by President Joe Biden.

Biden’s bid to push the legislation through the evenly divided Senate collapsed this week after Sinema and fellow Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia sided with Senate Republicans in not allowing a simple majority to pass the bill.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, on Nov. 15, 2021.

“While we take no pleasure in this announcement, the ADP Executive Board has decided to formally censure Senator Sinema as a result of her failure to do whatever it takes to ensure the health of our democracy,” state Democratic Party chair Raquel Teran said in a statement Saturday after an executive board vote.

The legislation entailed two Democrat-drafted voting rights measures that were combined into a single bill passed by the House – an approach that allowed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to bring it up without the threat of an initial GOP filibuster.

Sinema said in a statement after the rule vote Wednesday that while she voted to support the bill expanding ballot access, “I also maintained my longstanding opposition to separate actions that would deepen our divisions and risk repeated radical reversals in federal policy, cementing uncertainty and further eroding confidence in our government.”

Teran said “in the choice between an archaic legislative norm and protecting Arizonans’ right to vote, we choose the latter, and we always will.”

Democrats said the voting rights legislation may help counter new laws passed by GOP-led legislatures in 2021 that critics say curtail ballot access for minorities and other Democratic-leaning voters. Republicans said the voting-rights legislation was first drafted by Democrats in 2019 and was designed to disadvantage Republicans in future elections.