Nov 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Sen. Sinema hits Dem leaders over honesty, false promises

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) leaving the Capitol in October 2021.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) leaves the Capitol for the day in October. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) criticized Democratic leadership in a wide-ranging interview with Politico published Wednesday for making false promises by setting expectations for the social spending bill and other legislation far too high.

Why it matters: Sinema said that the pledges amount to dishonesty with Americans because they are made with the presumption of agreement within the party, which she believes is an unrealistic and potentially hazardous expectation in a diverse democracy.

  • “I've been concerned at the push that happens in both parties, this push to have no disagreements. To only have unity or to only speak with one voice. And some will say, ‘Oh, that is our strength,’” Sinema said.
  • “Having some disagreement is normal. It is real, it is human. And it's an opportunity for us as mature beings to work through it," she added.

Yes, but: Many legislative goals made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have not succeeded because of opposition from Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va).

What they're saying: “You’re either honest or you’re not honest. So just tell the truth and be honest and deliver that which you can deliver,” Sinema said.

  • “There's this growing trend of people in both political parties who promise things that cannot be delivered, in order to get the short-term political gain. And I believe that it damages the long-term health of our democracy," she said.
  • She compared her party's unachievable legislative commitments to Republicans vowing to repeal the Affordable Care Act after former President Trump was elected.

Of note: Sinema, who is often seen conversing with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) on the Senate floor, said she had no interest in becoming a Republican.

Go deeper: Poll: Manchin knots Democratic lifelines

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