Jan 23, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Sanders backs Arizona Democrats' censure of Sinema

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Sunday that he agrees with Arizona Democrats' vote to censure U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema after her vote against changing the Senate's filibuster rules.

Driving the news: Sanders told CNN's "State of the Union" he believes Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who also voted against the measure, have "sabotaged" President Biden's agenda. The rule change would have provided a path in the chamber for Democrats to pass their voting rights bill.

Asked by host Dana Bash if the decision to censure Sinema was appropriate, Sanders replied, "absolutely it was."

State of play: Sanders called on Democrats to stop negotiating elements of the president's agenda with Manchin and Sinema and put key items onto the floor to force the pair to vote on them on the record.

  • "We need a new direction, a new approach in the Senate," he said. "I think after six months of so-called negotiating behind closed doors with Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema, we need to start voting."
  • "We need to bring important pieces of legislation that impact the lives of working families right onto the floor of the Senate."

What he's saying: "I think there's widespread understanding that what we've done the last six months has failed from a policy point of view, it has failed politically," Sanders said.

  • "We need to change course. We need to have the courage to take on the Republicans and let Manchin and Sinema decide which side they're on."
  • Sanders described Manchin and Sinema as "two Democrats who choose to work with the Republicans rather than the president, and who have sabotaged the president's efforts to address the needs of working families in this country."
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