Democrat Sen Sinema (again) clarifies her support for the legislative filibuster

The senator's recent statements stop in their tracks Democrats' plans to pass sweeping election bills

Updated: January 13, 2022 - 4:11pm

Arizona Democrat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema on Thursday affirmed that she will not vote in favor of abolishing the legislative filibuster, dealing a blow to Democratic leadership's attempt to pass a series of sweeping election reform bills.

"There's no need for me to restate my longstanding support for the 60-vote threshold to pass legislation. There's no need for me to restate its role in protecting our country from wild reversals of federal policy," said Sinema, a moderate Democrat. "This week's harried discussions about Senate rules are but a poor substitute for what I believe could have and should have been a thoughtful public debate at any time over the past year."

Sinema has repeatedly made clear her stance on the legislative filibuster. But that has not stopped fellow Senate Democrats from continuing to insist that she restate her position, as they strive to pass sweeping pieces of legislation with their razor-thin Senate majority.

"But what is the legislative filibuster other than a tool that requires new federal policy to be broadly supported by senators, representing the broader cross-section of Americans," Sinema also said. "Demands to eliminate this threshold from whichever party holds the fleeting majority amount to a group of people separated on two sides of a canyon, shouting that solution to their colleagues." 

At present, congressional Democrats are attempting to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, both of which were passed Thursday morning in the House. Without Sinema's support to overturn the filibuster, Democrats will not be able to pass either piece of legislation in the upper chamber.

Moderate Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, who broadly supports both voting rights measures, has also repeatedly expressed hesitation to support any sort of filibuster overhaul.