Jan 13, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Sinema cites "disease of division," says she won't support changing filibuster rules

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) reiterated her long-standing support for the 60-vote Senate filibuster during a floor speech Thursday, dampening Democrats' hopes of reforming filibuster rules in order to pass voting rights legislation.

The backdrop: President Biden earlier this week threw his support behind changing filibuster rules in order pass voting rights legislation, and will attend the Senate Democratic caucus lunch later Thursday to make his case.

The big picture: Sinema has long made clear her opposition to abolishing the filibuster.

  • Sinema on Thursday said that while she supports efforts to amend voting rights legislation in the face of Republican efforts to curtail voting access, she would not support changes to the filibuster.

Driving the news: The House of Representatives passed a voting rights bill earlier Thursday that combines the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Amendment Act.

  • That package now advances to the Senate, where it faces an uphill battle amid a lack of Republican support. Democrats are considering changing the chamber's filibuster rules to pass the bill.

What they're saying: "Threats to American democracy are real. I share the concerns of civil rights advocates and others I've heard from in recent months about these state laws," Sinema said.

  • "I strongly support, and will continue to vote, for legislative responses to address these state laws, including the Freedom to Vote Act, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, that the Senate is currently considering."
  • "While I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country."
  • "There's no need for me to restate my long-standing support for the 60-vote threshold to pass legislation. ... It is a view I've held during my years serving in both the U.S. House and the Senate, and it is the view I continue to hold."
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