One of the moderate Democrats in the U.S. Senate said this week she won’t switch parties.
Sinema has faced harsh criticism from some fellow Democrats. A handful have said she’s already a Republican. The critics argue the first-term senator and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) are blocking much of President Joe Biden’s agenda.
Sinema and Manchin have stood firm against some of the more radical proposals, including a bill that would have cost $3 trillion and had no Republican support.
Democrats barely control the House of Representatives after a weak 2020 election. The party holds 50 seats in the upper chamber. It controls the Senate because Vice President Kamala Harris, the president of the chamber, is a Democrat. She can cast tiebreaking votes.
Manchin has also said recently he wouldn’t switch parties. He’s described himself as a moderate and centrist. He’s displayed some frustration at younger colleagues who push big changes, quickly.
Sinema said she’s remaining focused on negotiating with colleagues and refuses to bow to the idea that each party should always be unified.
“I’ve been concerned at the push that happens in both parties, this push to have no disagreements. To only have unity or to only speak with one voice. And some will say, ‘Oh, that is our strength,’” she told Politico. “Having some disagreement is normal. It is real, it is human. And it’s an opportunity for us as mature beings to work through it.”
“How many times have we heard that bipartisanship isn’t possible any more or that important policy can only happen on a party line? This legislation proves the opposite, and the senators who negotiated this legislation showed how to get things done,” Sinema told the bill signing ceremony on Monday.
The White House has touted how the bill was supported by members of both parties.
Just before signing it, Biden said it was “proof that despite the cynics Democrats and Republicans can come together and deliver results.”
The Democrat singled out members he said played crucial roles in delivering the legislation.
Sinema, he said, is “the most determined I know.”
Sinema spoke to Politico just after the ceremony.
She said she was working on getting bipartisan agreement on the next piece of Biden’s legislative proposals.
“I’m still in the process of negotiating the second provision of the president’s agenda … and I don’t negotiate in the press,” she said.