Sinema: Get ready for lots of great compromises … in the middle of the midterm cycle


She’s kidding, I assume. It took the bipartisan infrastructure bill three months to get through the House, even with it being an easy win for Democrats — and that wasn’t in the middle of a national election season. Now that progressives have released the hostage, Kyrsten Sinema tells her home-state newspaper that her “gang of ten” moderates in the Senate will spend 2022 uncorking compromise after compromise that will anger the hard-line wings of both parties:

After the holidays, Sinema said she anticipates employing the same bipartisan across-the-aisle approach with the “Gang of 10” senators to move on other key issues, from immigration reform to hiking the federal minimum wage.

The group has met several times to discuss its next round of bipartisan work, she said. …

“The lesson that I take from (the) elections, whether they be my own or others, is that folks — they expect results,” Sinema said. “They’re less interested in the talking heads on television and the partisan talking points on cable TV. They’re less interested in the tweets. What they are interested in is who is delivering results that make a difference in their lives. And so what I pledge to you and to folks throughout Arizona is to continue to do what I’ve always done, which is just put my head down, stay focused on the work, and deliver results for Arizonans.”

Color me as skeptical as Punchbowl’s Jake Sherman:

Assuming the Senate still has a Gang of 10 after the House Democrats’ months-long humiliation, exactly how would they move any of this? In order to get anything through the Senate, you’d need at least ten of each party to avoid a filibuster, not five of each party. Fifty-five votes gets you some press, but not a floor vote.

Now consider that math in light of Sinema’s proposed agenda. In a midterm cycle in which they want to win back control of both chambers, how many Senate Republicans will vote for an immigration-reform bill that Joe Biden would actually sign? For that matter, how many House progressives would support an immigration reform proposal that could get enough Republican votes to pass in the Senate? And why would Republicans take such risks while knowing Pramila Jayapal and her own “gang” will hold those bills hostage all over again? Fuhgeddaboudit.

As for a minimum-wage hike, Sinema must be kidding. Democrats helped touch off an inflationary cycle that has already hit over 6% in October in real year-on-year terms, as Heather Long points out on Twitter:

Why would Republicans collaborate to add even more inflationary pressure in the form of an artificial increase in labor costs? Even if 2022 wasn’t an election year, that kind of move would be insane.

To underscore Sherman’s point, Sinema remains awfully cagey on the one bill for which she comprises a Gang of Two:

On the budget reconciliation front, Sinema said she continues to work with the Biden administration, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and others to pass a package with a price tag that she helped shrink to an estimated $1.75 trillion from Democrats’ original $3.5 trillion.

On the budget reconciliation front, Sinema said she continues to work with the Biden administration, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and others to pass a package with a price tag that she helped shrink to an estimated $1.75 trillion from Democrats’ original $3.5 trillion.

That’s a pretty notable non-answer on Biden’s Build Back Better plan. Sinema doesn’t have any qualms about predicting all sorts of cross-aisle collaboration on hot-button Democratic priorities in an election cycle, but she avoids taking any specific positions on items within the Dem-only BBB. And for good reason; Sinema doesn’t want to get pinned down in public on positions that would be unpopular with either her base or with independents who will decide the midterm fate of her colleague Mark Kelly.

And that’s why her Gang of 10 is fooling themselves if they think they can move on Democrats’ agenda in this midterm cycle. If Biden had job approval ratings in the 60s, maybe some Republicans might be inclined to bandwagon a bit. But with Biden sinking into the 30s and a red wave already forming, and with progressives in the House manning the circular firing squads, there isn’t a chance in hell that Sinema gets any of this agenda accomplished.





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