More Sinema backers defect over her Biden plan objections

Oct 21, 2021, 1:57 AM | Updated: 2:03 pm
FILE - In this Oct. 19, 2021 file photo, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., speaks during a committee he...

FILE - In this Oct. 19, 2021 file photo, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., speaks during a committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Democratic Arizona Sen. Sinema faced more defections Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, from the broad base of support she built to win her seat in 2018 when five members of her veterans advisory council resigned over her opposition to parts of President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan and refusal to ditch the Senate filibuster. (Mandel Ngan/Pool via AP, File)

(Mandel Ngan/Pool via AP, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — Democratic Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema faced more defections Thursday from the broad base of support she built to win her seat in 2018 when five members of her veterans advisory council resigned over her opposition to parts of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan and refusal to ditch the Senate filibuster.

The resignations come as progressive groups are ratcheting up their pressure on the first-term moderate, who along with West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is seen as holding back progress as Biden sharply scales back his once-$3.5 trillion plan to win their support.

Democrats need their support to push the legislation through the 50-50 Senate. That would let Vice President Kamala Harris supply the tie-breaking vote.

The veterans are also upset with Sinema for refusing to back changes to the filibuster, saying that is preventing action on voting rights, immigration and other key Democratic priorities, according to a scathing letter they released publicly Thursday. And they pointed to her reported opposition to allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices to be included in Biden’s infrastructure package, saying that goes against a key campaign promise she made to rein in drug prices.

“These are not the actions of a maverick,” the five veterans wrote. “We should have realized this once you showed your true character when refusing to vote to establish a commission to investigate the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol.”

Veterans were a key constituency that Sinema wooed during her 2018 campaign to replace Sen. Jeff Flake, who declined to seek another term after his criticism of then-President Donald Trump made it impossible for him to survive a Republican primary. Sinema defeated then-Rep. Martha McSally — the first Democrat to win a Arizona Senate seat in more than two decades — and has since embraced the “maverick” label worn by John McCain, the Arizona senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee who died months before she won her Senate seat.

Sinema released a statement Thursday thanking the veterans for their contributions to her work to ensure vets get the benefits they have earned.

“While it is unfortunate that apparent disagreement on separate policy issues has led to this decision, I thank them for their service and will continue working every day to deliver for Arizona’s veterans who have sacrificed so much to keep us safe and secure,” she said in a statement.

Sinema has been tight-lipped as to which parts of Biden’s sweeping plan she supports, with her spokespeople consistently saying she is negotiating directly with the president and congressional leaders and not in the press. But her opposition to tax increases on corporations and wealthy individuals earning more than $400,000 a year prompted Biden to drop them from the proposal on Tuesday.

Biden’s ambitious $3.5 trillion social services and climate change package is also being trimmed back, likely to just $2 trillion over 10 years, in part to mollify Sinema and Manchin. Sinema has said there is no way she would support that higher level of spending.

She said in an interview with The Arizona Republic newspaper last month that she wants the package to not fuel inflation. But she seldom speaks to reporters and her views on many specific components of the measure are unclear.

The veterans group resignations were announced by Common Defense, a progressive veterans group that also released an critical of Sinema that featured one of the veterans, U.S. Air Force retiree Sylvia González Adersh.

Also Thursday, Arizona progressive groups held the latest in a series of demonstrations designed to increase pressure on Sinema. The groups want Sinema to end the filibuster so Democrats can enact pro-union legislation, immigration reform and voting rights legislation that Republicans are now blocking.

Arizona now has two Democratic senators, but the reality on the ground is that their status remains up in the air as voters in the once-heavily Republican could easily change that in the next four years. Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, elected last year to finish McCain’s term, faces reelection in 2022 and Sinema must face voters again in 2024.

That has led Sinema to embrace moderate positions. She won election by building a centrist base of the state’s independent voters while maintaining support from progressive and moderate Democrats.

She has said unequivocally that she will not vote to end the Senate rule that requires 60 votes to advance legislation, arguing that doing so would allow passage of legislation that would be swept away the next time control of Congress swings to Republicans.

In a June op-ed in the Washington Post, she also noted that Democrats used the filibuster last year to block legislation they opposed.

But her opposition to parts of Biden’s plan and refusal to sweep away the filibuster imperils her from the left.

After attending the latest rally Thursday held by angry progressives, one Democrat said they will keep the pressure up – even if it means a Republican wins in 2024. Now, he said, progressive Democrats are upset at Sinema for what she is failing to do.

“The way we look at it as far as progressives is, we already have a Republican in office, so what are we going to lose,” said Rich Andrade, a state House member and union member. “Either you support us and the chances of winning the next race are stronger, or completely blow your chance of winning.”


Associated Press reporter Alan Fram in Washington contributed.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Electronic signage is shown at Morgan Stanley headquarters, Thursday, March 4, 2021 in New Y...
Associated Press

Morgan Stanley profits climb 9% on asset management business

NEW YORK (AP) — Investment bank Morgan Stanley said its fourth-quarter profits rose 9% from a year ago, helped by a big jump in fee revenue from its growing asset and wealth management business. The investment banking division also boosted results, as deal-making on Wall Street continued at a frenzied pace. The New York-based firm […]
1 day ago
FILE -  A woman holds up the Spanish message "Take your rosaries out of our ovaries" during a march...
Associated Press

Mexican abortion advocates look to help women in US

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Decades ago, Mexican activists drove women into the United States to terminate their pregnancies at clinics. Now it’s women in the U.S. who are facing more challenges to accessing abortion services and again Mexican activists are stepping up to offer support. The changing dynamic has to do with the reversal of […]
1 day ago
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, centre, gestures, during a visit to Finchley Memorial Hospi...
Associated Press

UK lifts COVID restrictions, says omicron wave ‘has peaked’

LONDON (AP) — Face masks will no longer be mandatory in public places and schools in England and COVID-19 passports will be dropped for large events as infections level off in large parts of the country, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday. Johnson told lawmakers that the restrictions were being eased because government scientists […]
1 day ago
From left, Premier of the Western Cape Alan Winde, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, and fou...
Associated Press

South African president launches vaccine manufacturing plant

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has opened a new vaccine manufacturing facility that he says will boost the country’s capacity to make its own inoculations for diseases including COVID-19. The plant in Cape Town — a partnership between a U.S.-based biotechnology firm, the government and South African universities — will help improve […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Poland: Minister backs worker COVID documents as cases rise

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s health minister spoke Wednesday in favor of making COVID-19 certificates mandatory for employees. The country is reporting a surge in coronavirus infections, including over 30,000 new cases in 24 hours, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said, noting that 20% involve the highly contagious omicron variant. Poland currently has some 31,000 hospital […]
1 day ago
A Ford logo is seen on signage at Country Ford in Graham, N.C., Tuesday, July 27, 2021.  Ford is re...
Associated Press

Ford recalls 200K cars because brake lights can stay on

DETROIT (AP) — Ford is recalling about 200,000 cars in the U.S. to fix a problem that can stop the brake lights from turning off. The recall covers certain 2014 and 2015 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ midsize cars as well as some 2015 Mustangs. All were sold or registered in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles


Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
More Sinema backers defect over her Biden plan objections