Mitch McConnell: Democrats need more moderates like Sen. Kyrsten Sinema




  • In Politics
  • 2022-09-27 12:49:12Z
  • By USA TODAY

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is a Democrat, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had high praise for her anyway when he hosted her Monday at his alma mater, the University of Louisville.

"I've only known Kyrsten for four years, but she is, in my view ... the most effective first-term senator I've seen," he said as he introduced her at an event held by the McConnell Center, which he founded over 30 years ago along with university officials.

"She is, today, what we have too few of in the Democratic Party: A genuine moderate and a dealmaker," said McConnell, a longtime Republican who earned a reputation for partisan obstruction during former President Barack Obama's administration.

He said Sinema has been "right in the middle of, if not the principal leader of" negotiations that resulted in bipartisan legislation passed during President Joe Biden's term, including a $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan and the first big gun reform bill to become federal law since 1994. (McConnell voted for both proposals.)

"As you can tell, I have a very high opinion of the senator from Arizona," he said. "But my biggest compliment to her is: She protects the institution of the Senate."

More: Mitch McConnell cautious on GOP's odds of taking Senate in midterms, rebukes threats to FBI

Sen.
Sen.  

McConnell was referencing Sinema's steadfast refusal to get rid of the filibuster, a 60-vote threshold the Senate must meet to advance most bills.

Many congressional Democrats have urged her and fellow Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia to agree to neutralize the filibuster so they can pass priority legislation, such as a bill that would've made major changes to federal elections and expanded access to voting.

Sinema and Manchin's stance has allowed the McConnell-led Senate Republicans to block those Democratic proposals instead.

More: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema backs Inflation Reduction Act, giving Biden the votes for Senate passage

"It took one hell of a lot of guts for Kyrsten Sinema to stand up and say, 'I'm not going to break the institution in order to achieve a short-term goal,'" said McConnell, who alluded Monday to his own refusal of former President Donald Trump's demands that Senate Republicans ax the filibuster when they were in control.

McConnell introduced Sinema so she could give a talk on the importance of bipartisanship.

She kicked off her lecture by talking about her friendship with McConnell:

"You know, at first glance Sen. McConnell and I have relatively little, or some could even say nothing, in common. For starters, he drinks bourbon. I drink wine. He's from the Southeast and I'm from the great Southwest. He wears suits and ties, and I wear dresses and these fair sneakers. And perhaps most obviously, we come from opposing political parties.

"But despite our apparent differences, Sen. McConnell and I have forged a friendship. One that is rooted in our commonalities, including our pragmatic approach to legislating, our respect for the Senate as an institution, our love for our home states and a dogged determination on behalf of our constituents."

Sinema went on to highlight the work she and several other senators of both parties have done since early 2021 to reach compromises tackling infrastructure needs, gun violence and other issues that managed to become law despite the Senate filibuster.

Sinema echoed McConnell's arguments in favor of the filibuster on Monday. She said axing it would turn the Senate into the House of Representatives, where lawmakers represent "the passions of the moment" and where each party passes "a little bit of crazy legislation" when they're in control.

Sen.
Sen.  

She suggested the Senate is supposed to counterbalance that.

Sinema went a step further than McConnell, though, by saying she'd like to restore that 60-vote threshold for presidential nominations, including for federal judges.

"Not everyone likes that," she said when some folks applauded. "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. But I believe that if we did restore it, we would actually see more of that middle ground in all parts of our governance."

Judicial filibusters were rolled back by Democrats and the GOP when each party controlled the Senate.

McConnell led Senate Republicans to nix that for U.S. Supreme Court nominations, specifically. That allowed them to confirm three Trump-nominated Supreme Court justices with a simple majority, ensuring they could overcome Democratic opposition.

The conservative majority they installed on the court went on to eliminate the nationwide right to abortion this summer, which radically restricted abortion access in Kentucky.

Reach reporter Morgan Watkins: 502-582-4502; mwatkins@courierjournal.com; Twitter: @morganwatkins26.

Arizona Sen.
Arizona Sen.  

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mitch McConnell praises Kyrsten Sinema: A genuine moderate, dealmaker

COMMENTS

More Related News

Exclusive-Horse racing-U.S. Senator McConnell pushing for legislative fix to safety law
Exclusive-Horse racing-U.S. Senator McConnell pushing for legislative fix to safety law

U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is pushing for a legislative fix to a law designed to make horse racing safer after an appeals court last month...

Two Trump-Appointed Judges Rebuke a Third for Bending the Law in His Favor
Two Trump-Appointed Judges Rebuke a Third for Bending the Law in His Favor

WASHINGTON - A scathing decision Thursday by a federal appeals court panel that shut down a lower court judge's interference in a criminal investigation...

Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna reached out to Twitter as it suppressed the Hunter Biden laptop story to voice concerns about violating free speech and press freedom principles
Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna reached out to Twitter as it suppressed the Hunter Biden laptop story to voice concerns about violating free speech and press freedom principles

Rep. Ro Khanna told Twitter he was concerned about the company suppressing the Hunter Biden laptop story even though he's "a total Biden partisan."

Rail workers say deal won
Rail workers say deal won't resolve quality-of-life concerns

When BNSF railroad conductor Justin Schaaf needed to take time off from work this summer, he had to make a choice: go to the dentist to get a cavity in his...

Rail strike is cancelled - at the cost of paid sick leave
Rail strike is cancelled - at the cost of paid sick leave

The pandemic and a vicious flu season has re-energised the fight for paid sick leave.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Politics