Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) defended her support for the filibuster on Monday despite near-unified opposition from the rest of her party, taking the absolutist view that it should even be restored for judicial nominations.
Speaking at the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, Sinema spoke out against Democratic efforts to scrap the rule, which requires 60 votes to move forward on most legislation.
“It’d be bad for us as Americans to think that we should always feed our short-term desires, rather than thinking about the long term,” Sinema said during the Q&A portion of her talk. “So not only am I committed to the 60-vote threshold, I have an incredibly unpopular view — I actually think we should restore the 60-vote threshold for the areas in which it has been eliminated already.”
“Not everyone likes that because it would make it harder for us to confirm judges and it would make it harder for us to confirm executive appointments in each administration,” she continued. “But I believe that if we did restore it, we would actually see more of that middle ground in all parts of our governance, which is what I believe our forefathers intended.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who introduced Sinema at the event, was the one who “nuked” the filibuster for Supreme Court judicial nominations in 2017 in order to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch. Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) removed the filibuster for all lower-court judicial nominees in 2013.
Before speaking out against the filibuster rollback, McConnell, who advocates keeping the current filibuster in place, gave Sinema a glowing introduction.
“I’ve only known Kyrsten for four years, but she is in my view … the most effective first-term senator I’ve seen in my time in the Senate,” he said.
As one of two centrist Democrats in the 50-50 Senate, Sinema has sunk several bills relating to President Joe Biden’s agenda with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), including “Build Back Better” last year. The pair later came to a deal on the Inflation Reduction Act and other bills that gave Democrats legislative victories to tout before the midterm elections.
Reporting from The Washington Examiner.