On the day the House passed the Build Back Better Act(Nov 19), Senator Kyrsten Sinema(D-AZ) sat down for an interview with Arizona’s ABC 15(KNXV), to discuss what lies ahead for the historic bill in the Senate. It is no secret that a lot of Democrats, especially Progressive Democrats, have been very upset with Senators Sinema and Joe Manchin(D-WV), over what they perceive as a coordinated effort by the two Senators to derail President Biden’s legislative agenda.
Asked by the ABC 15‘s host about the sharp, even personal criticism she regularly receives from Progressives regarding her perceived obstruction of the Build Back Better Act and other key Democratic legislative proposals(voting rights etc), Senator Sinema responded: “When I first was elected to head to Washington DC and represent Arizona about 9 years ago, I promised to be a work horse, not a show horse, and that’s exactly what I’ve done over these last 9 years. In the 3 years that I’ve served in the United States Senate, I’ve been known for just putting my head down and doing the work. And my experience is, if you want to negotiate and get to an agreement on difficult topics, the best way to do that is to build trust, and when you’re building trust with someone, you work one on one, you solve the problem, you stay focused, and you don’t get distracted by the noise outside. Now, I know that a lot of folks wanted to hear that noise outside, but they probably didn’t have the same goal as me, which is to negotiate and pass a historic infrastructure bill into law, and I guess I would just say the proof is in the pudding. Here we are today, the bill has become law, and we move on to the next topic, which is to implement it for the benefit of every day Arizonans. So while there are some who may not like this approach, it works, and I think it represents what Arizonans elected me to do, which is to put my head down, get the work done, and deliver results for every day families. “
There’s no other way to interpret Senator Sinema’s response, especially her work horse versus show horse analogy, other than she looks at her Progressive critics as a bunch of drama kings/queens who are either unwilling or unable to do the hard work of negotiating with the opposing party(Republicans)to advance legislation. Senator Sinema added that her approach, which involves quietly negotiating with Republicans produces results, as opposed to the unproductive “noise” which she attributed to Progressives.
In what could turn out to be a problem for the Build Back Better Act in the Senate, Senator Sinema later in the interview, raised concerns about the bill worsening the already alarming inflation problem. It’s highly likely that Senator Manchin will also raise similar inflation concerns, which may lead to the gutting of some popular Progressive items like paid family leave from the Build Back Better Act. A gutted Build Back Better Act may prove non-palatable to House Progressives thereby killing the bill, or extending it’s passage well into 2022, a tough election year for Democrats.
Bottom line folks, it was good to see Senator Sinema, often shrouded in secrecy, talking extensively to the media about her stance on the Build Back Better Act and other issues important to her constituents. Hopefully this is the beginning of a more “public” Senator Sinema.
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