Sens. Sinema and Kelly Pressured to Help Kill the Filibuster by Arizona Democratic Party Resolution

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Posted: May 23, 2021 5:00 PM
Sens. Sinema and Kelly Pressured to Help Kill the Filibuster by Arizona Democratic Party Resolution

Source: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly, the Democratic senators from Arizona, were the subject of one of the resolution passed by the Arizona Democratic Party during their state convention on Saturday. "Arizona Democrats pass resolution urging Sinema, Kelly to junk filibuster," Yvonne Wingett Sanchez reported for the Arizona Republic:

The “We Call For An End To The Filibuster” resolution called on Sinema, D-Ariz., and Kelly, D-Ariz. to declare support for ending the filibuster and voting to eliminate it from Senate rules.

[Party chair Raquel] Terán said she appreciates the senators' desire to work with Republicans, "but we need to make sure that every option is on the table to make sure that we get Joe Biden's agenda passed."

That sounds like some "appreciat[ion]." 

The resolution is not binding, but nevertheless noteworthy. The calls pressuring Sen. Sinema to drop her stated support for the filibuster are really ramping up. Last month, some took to Twitter to exploit the death of the senator's former intern to call on her to drop her support.

The senator has not wavered in her support, though:

“There’s a lot of talk about, ‘Oooh, the pressure is mounting and the pressure is out there,’” Sinema said in a recent interview with The Arizona Republic’s political podcast, The Gaggle. 

“But as everybody knows, I don't bend to pressure from either party, and I just stay focused on what I think is right, and delivering for Arizonans.”

There were other forms of pressure as well this past week. As Perry Vandell also reported for the outlet, "Progressives hold Phoenix rally urging Sinema and Kelly to end the filibuster." The rally took place on Thursday at the Civic Space Park in downtown Phoenix. Speakers included "democratic lawmakers and local activists."

Sen. Kelly has yet to take a stance on the filibuster. As Sanchez had also reported in April:

On another topic, Kelly did not take a stand on calls by some Democrats to eliminate or change the Senate’s legislative filibuster, the rule that requires the support of 60 senators to end debate and advance a bill. 

The future of the filibuster in the 50-50 Senate has taken on a new urgency as Democrats gear up to consider controversial legislation that could determine the future of gun control, voting rights, immigration reform, infrastructure spending and other measures. 

“Well, when we get to the point where we're going to have, you know, a serious discussion about this, I’ll make a decision based on what’s in the best interest of Arizona and the country,” Kelly told reporters. 

He added: “Change is generally a good thing, but the details matter. So, I will make a decision not what’s in the best interest of the Democratic Party, but what’s in the best interest of Arizona, the country."

Kelly said he would prefer to move legislation through the Senate by earning the support of Senate Republicans. “Sometimes that can happen, and sometimes it doesn't," he said. "Our country’s better served when we can do things in a bipartisan way.” 

Republicans took notice as well. The NRSC targeted Kelly over such a non-stance in a press release, linking to Sanchez's above article. 

That looks to remain the case, as Sanchez reported in the more recent piece that "Kelly, who faces re-election in 2022, has not taken a public position on whether he supports eliminating the filibuster." Kelly beat Martha McSally last November, who was appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey (R-AZ) to replace the late John McCain.

Readers can listen to Sen. Sinema's pdocast below.