Hey, I know she’s a liberal at heart, but she just keeps doing things that are not only noteworthy, but worthy of praise.
Today, Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) let it be known that she wasn’t going to play Nancy Pelosi’s game of trying to include a $15 an hour minimum wage in a COVID package that Democrats are attempting to pass via the reconciliation process (i.e. it would only require the 50 Democrat votes + Kamala Harris to break the tie). Pelosi had just recently said that it would be included.
Sinema, ever the rebel in her own caucus gave that idea a big thumbs down.
If you want to know what drives Sinema, understand she's NEVER served in the majority before during her career
“There is no instance in which I would overrule a parliamentarian’s decision, … I want to restore the 60-vote threshold for all elements of the Senate's work.”
— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) February 12, 2021
Oddly enough, I think I trust Sinema to keep her word on this more than I do Joe Manchin, the moderate Democrat from West Virginia who typically plays the role of swing vote. Since her election to the Senate, Sinema has tried to fashion herself a Maverick, spurning her own party on everything from Trump judges to tax cuts.
Of course, politics aside, Sinema is right on the merits here. A minimum wage hike is absolutely not a budget issue. Unless the parliamentarian is just a raging Democrat hack, there’s absolutely no way she can find it proper to include such a provision in a bill being passed via reconciliation. Even the COVID relief itself may not fall under the proper provisions, though you can bet some fuzzy math will be done to justify it.
Pelosi may be arrogant, but Sinema holds the real power here. The Arizona Senator’s vote alone can scuttle any piece of Democrat legislation, including this one. It would have been wise for the San Francisco liberal to confer with Sinema and Manchin prior to insisting a minimum wage hike be included in the COVID bill. Instead, she pressed forward anyway without a care.
Sinema also commented on the attempts by the left wing of the party (including Kamala Harris) to pressure her. Per her response, she doesn’t take kindly to those attempts. In fact, it appears that the bullying that was attempted on Joe Manchin by Harris backfired here.
In the end, these rabidly left-wing politicians can talk a lot of talk on MSNBC, but if they can’t get the votes of Sinema and Manchin, their dreams are dead in the water. With Arizona still being a swing state, Sinema has a perception as a straight shooter and independent mind to keep up. That overrides any loyalty, to the extent that any ever existed, to Nancy Pelosi.