Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., on Thursday sent out a fundraising email touting her work to protect women’s health care after shooting down President Joe Biden’s proposal to codify abortion rights.
Biden asked the Senate Thursday to support a filibuster carteout to pass federal legislation ensuring the right of abortion.
“The most important thing … we have to change — I believe we have to codify Roe v. Wade in the law,” Biden saidDuring a press conference at the NATO summit, Madrid. “And the way to do that is to make sure the Congress votes to do that. And if the filibuster gets in the way, it’s like voting rights — it should be (that) we provide an exception to this … requiring an exception to the filibuster for this action to deal with the Supreme Court decision.”
Sinema, D-W.Va. Senator Joe Manchin and Sinema quickly stopped the plan. They are opposed to scrapping filibuster. Sinema’s office told CNN that the senator is “still opposed to gutting the filibuster on any topic including on reproductive rights.”
Sinema was accused for hypocrisy after repeatedly promoting her support of abortion rights. Former Obama administration digital strategist Tim Fullerton flagged a fundraising email Sinema’s campaign sent out Thursday touting her work to “protect women’s health care.”
Sinema said after the Supreme Court last week struck down federal abortion protections that the ruling “endangers the health and wellbeing of women.”
“Throughout my time in Congress, I’ve always supported women’s access to health care, and I’ll continue working with anyone to protect women’s ability to make decisions about their futures,” she said in a statement that noted she has “repeatedly voted in favor of protecting women’s right to choose and is a cosponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act.”
While Sinema’s office referred to the proposed carveout as “gutting” the Senate rule, she and Manchin both previously supported a filibuster carveout to raise the debt ceiling last year, though they opposed doing so to pass the Democrats’ voting rights legislation earlier this year.
Sawyer Hackett, a Democratic strategist, noted that Democrats were unable to confirm Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson only with 53 votes due to an existing filibuster deal.
“Why wouldn’t she do it to pass the bill to codify Roe — a bill she cosponsors?” he tweeted.
John LaBombard, Sinema’s former spokesman, dismissed criticism of the senator, describing a filibuster carveout to protect abortion rights as a “progressive purity test.”
Sinema wrote last-year a Washington Post op-ed arguing that Democrats “have more to lose than gain by ending the filibuster.”
“To those who want to eliminate the legislative filibuster to expand health-care access,” she wrote, “Would it be good for our country if we did, only to later see that legislation replaced by legislation… defunding women’s reproductive health services?”
Sinema’s explanation was rejected by Arizona Democrats, who censured herSupporting the filibuster was a sign that the party attempted to codify voting rights during the nationwide Republican crackdown on voter access. Some progressives are already attempting to back a primary challengerSinema in 2024
There is nothing to stop Republicans imposing their own filibuster amendments if they regain control in the midterm election regardless of what Democrats do. Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, R.Ky. eliminated the filibusterFor Supreme Court nominees, the possibility of passing a federal abortion banThis was earlier in the year.
McConnell’s Senate strategy during Biden’s first two years in office has heavily relied on obstruction from Manchin and Sinema. The Republican leader has repeatedly pointed to Sinema’s opposition to rolling back the Trump tax cuts — which she campaigned against — to privately assureRepublicans claim that she would assist in securing his legislative agenda.
“Hopefully that will be enough to keep this thing underwater permanently,” he said publiclyThis spring, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce hosted an event.
McConnell went further on Thursday, vowing to kill the bipartisan United States Innovation and Competition Act — a bill that invests in American industries to bolster U.S. competitiveness with China that passed the Senate 68-32 — if Democrats move ahead with a reconciliation bill to lower drug prices.
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), a potential Sinema primary challenger tweeted that the “only reason he can make that threat” is because he knows Sinema and Manchin empower him “by not neutering the filibuster.”
Nina Turner, a long-standing progressive advocate, criticized the Democratic Party for allowing two senators to hold their agenda hostage.
“Manchin and Sinema deserve to face consequences,” she tweeted. “Would Mitch McConnell allow two Republican senators to derail the GOP agenda? No he would not.”