Kyrsten Sinema Real Sad Biden, Pelosi Don’t Trust Her, Like She's Not Trustworthy Or Something
Late Friday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi delayed a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which some frustratingly abbreviate as BIF. Pelosi sent a letter to her caucus stating that more time was needed to reach an agreement on the larger reconciliation bill, and while the press has tried to paint this as a battle between moderates and progressives with poor home training, Pelosi made it clear the reconciliation bill reflects President Joe Biden's “vision" and agenda.
While great progress has been made in the negotiations to develop a House, Senate and White House agreement on the Build Back Better Act, more time is needed to complete the task. Our priority to create jobs in the health care, family and climate agendas is a shared value. Our Chairs are still working for clarity and consensus. Clearly, the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill will pass once we have agreement on the reconciliation bill.
This was a blow to Senator Kyrsten Sinema from the Sinema Party. Sinema had taken a “fuck you, pay me" approach to negotiations over reconciliation. She insisted the House pass her pet BIF before she'd even consider coming up with an excuse to kill reconciliation. Sinema apparently wants to build a brand as someone makes deals in her immediate self-interest and then reneges on them whenever it suits her. There are comic book villains with more honor.
Sinema has wasted everyone's time for a while now, and all that's been accomplished is that people don't trust her as far as the door. After Friday's meeting with the president, Rep. Ruben Gallego from Arizona said: "[Biden] has no confidence that if we try to pass [the infrastructure bill] bill first, that the reconciliation [bill] will also pass."
That's pretty damning. Biden served in the Senate from 1973 to 2009. He's old school and has gone on record stating how “important one's word is in the Senate." However, he implicitly states that he doesn't believe Sinema's word is worth one-ply bathroom tissue.
House Democrats were willing to negotiate with Sinema, but she reportedly refused to "engage on some specifics until the bipartisan infrastructure package" passed. She'd only say that she opposed the $3.5 trillion price tag. Although $3.5 trillion was still a lot of money when she originally agreed to a two-track strategy for passing BIF and reconciliation.
Sinema was real mad about Pelosi's delay — madder than when Senate Republicans blocked voting rights legislation she claims to support, or when they voted to default on America's debts, which would probably impact Arizona in some way. She claimed delaying (not cancelling) the vote "betrays the trust the American people have placed in their elected leaders and denies our country crucial investments to expand economic opportunities."
There was also this BS: "Arizonans, and all everyday Americans, expect their lawmakers to consider legislation on the merits — rather than obstruct new jobs and critical infrastructure investments for no substantive reason. What Americans have seen instead is an ineffective stunt to gain leverage over a separate proposal."
The “stunt" is quite effective because it will force Sinema to uphold her end of the bargain. Reconciliation was never a “separate proposal" from her road-paving bill. She's also accusing Democrats of “obstruction," as though she's never met a Republican. Also, it was her buddy Joe Manchin who acted as if there was “no rush" or “timetable" for the reconciliation bill, but Sinema acts as if Johnny Bridge Builder won't have money for a Christmas tree because Pelosi delayed the BIF vote until late October.
And dig this bullshit:
My vote belongs to Arizona, and I do not trade my vote for political favors — I vote based only on what is best for my state and the country. I have never, and would never, agree to any bargain that would hold one piece of legislation hostage to another.
Sinema hasn't spent the past few months at town halls with actual Arizonians. Instead, she's flown back to Phoenix for swanky fundraisers with wealthy donors who want her to kill reconciliation dead.
Former Democratic strategist David Axelrod scorched Sinema on Twitter: "Kind of takes some brass to blow out of DC for fundraisers back home in the middle of this and lecture everyone by press release on 'trust.'" Axelrod isn't some wide-eyed Bernie bro, so Sinema is pissing off everyone whose support she'd need for re-election in 2024.
Sinema wasn't the only fool who thought she could fuck with Pelosi. Rep. Josh Gottheimer from New Jersey and eight other Democratic moderates were part of a supposed “unbreakable" nine who were going to force Pelosi to separate BIF from reconciliation. That obviously didn't happen, and Gottheimer released an angry statement Friday accusing Pelosi of caving to the far-left and endangering Biden's agenda. We repeat: Reconciliation is Joe Biden's agenda. BIF is more or less Mitt Romney's infrastructure agenda. Never stop asking yourself why Mitch McConnell would allow the Senate to pass BIF in the first place.
What's hilarious about Gottheimer's public tantrum is that he's the only one who signed it. The rest of his unbreakable nine folded like a cheap tent, which I guess is technically not breaking. Don't come for Pelosi. This is almost always the result.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."