Sen. Kyrsten Sinema slammed ‘false pressure’ to reach a filibuster-proof 60 votes in newly unearthed 2010 video

Kyrsten Sinema
Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

  • Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona Democrat, criticized the “false pressure” to reach a 60-vote supermajority to pass legislation in 2010.
  • Sinema, then a state representative, suggested that the filibuster forced Democrats to “kowtow” to moderate lawmakers.
  • Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin are the only two Democrats who’ve vocalized staunch opposition to eliminating the filibuster.
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Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona Democrat, criticized the “false pressure” to reach a 60-vote supermajority to pass legislation in comments to supporters 11 years ago, according to a 2010 video newly unearthed by the progressive media organization More Perfect Union.

Then an Arizona state representative, Sinema told the audience that she supported Democrats using reconciliation to pass major legislation, including healthcare reform, with just 51 votes. She also criticized then-Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut who caucused with the Democratic Party, and then-Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, for being too moderate.

“In the Senate, we no longer have 60 votes,” Sinema told the audience. “Some would argue we never had 60 because one of those was Joseph Lieberman.”

She added that without 60 Democratic-voting lawmakers in the Senate, “there’s none of this pressure, this false pressure, to get to 60.”

She went on, “So what this means is that the Democrats can stop kowtowing to Joe Lieberman and, instead, seek other avenues to move forward with health reform.”

A spokesperson for Sinema didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

As one of the most moderate Democrats in the Senate, and one of the only who vocally opposes eliminating the filibuster, Sinema plays somewhat of a similar role in the chamber as Lieberman did in 2010.

Sinema now argues that the filibuster is essential in protecting American democracy, and she recently argued in a Washington Post op-ed that the 60-vote rule “compels moderation and helps protect the country from wild swings between opposing policy poles.”

She’s faced significant blowback from fellow Democrats and progressive activists who want to get rid of the 60-vote rule in order to pass much of President Joe Biden’s agenda.

The senator argued that her position on the filibuster has been consistent during her tenure in Washington.

“I held the same view during three terms in the U.S. House, and said the same after I was elected to the Senate in 2018,” she said. “If anyone expected me to reverse my position because my party now controls the Senate, they should know that my approach to legislating in Congress is the same whether in the minority or majority.”

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