LGBTQ Sen. Kyrsten Sinema - From Obstructionist To Shero? | Jive in the [415] Blog | Gay LGBT News Political Commentary

October 26, 2021

LGBTQ Sen. Kyrsten Sinema - From Obstructionist To Shero?

A rainbow flag with a portrait of Arizona's Senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema superimposed.

By Roy Steele

There are exactly two United States Senators who publicly identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) are the dynamic and capable LGBTQ duo in the upper chamber of Congress. 

With only two LGBTQ Senators, I worry about their images and how they are portrayed in the media because it reflects on our community. 

For the past few months, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sinema have been in the news every day because of their opposition to the budget reconciliation bill in the Senate. Since Democrats have a one-vote majority with Vice President Kamala Harris able to break any tie votes, passing a bill requires the support of all fifty Democratic Senators

Any single Democratic senator can hold up or defeat a law before it makes it to the floor for a vote, which is why Manchin and Sinema figure so prominently in the passage of President Joe Biden’s 2021 legislative agenda. If they continue to register their opposition the legislation will never make it to the floor for a vote.  

If you watch cable news, you know that Arizona’s senior senator doesn’t like the increased attention and scrutiny she’s received since announcing her opposition to the spending bill. Reporters have chased Sinema into a bathroom in order to ask her questions, while Manchin makes himself accessible to constituents and reporters wherever he goes. He seems to love the spotlight.

Manchin comes from a coal mining state and objects to climate legislation. While I disagree with him and don’t like his posturing, I get it. For reasons unbeknownst to all, Sinema objects to any tax increases on corporations.

The Washington Post noted that her “silence on spending bill vexes many Democrats while she digs in on talks out of public view.”

Senate Democrats left their weekly lunch on Tuesday proclaiming that every person in the room — from Vermont’s Bernie Sanders to West Virginia’s Joe Manchin III — was unified on the urgency of getting a deal on President Biden’s ambitious domestic policy package.

Conspicuously absent was Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the inscrutable Arizonan whose refusal to discuss publicly her views on Biden’s biggest domestic priority has angered many Democrats.

While her colleagues dined, Sinema was elsewhere in the Capitol, huddling with White House officials continuing to negotiate on the tax code, climate initiatives and the social safety net, according to two aides. She had met with Biden earlier that day at the White House, and, unbeknown to many House and Senate Democrats, had been engaging in talks with a small handful of colleagues.

Sinema, who along with fellow holdout Manchin has the power to single-handedly sink Biden’s plans in the 50-50 Senate, has been mocked on the left, which has accused her of avoiding the gritty details of legislating in favor of frivolities such as fundraising in Europe and training for races. She has been trailed by angry protesters, some of whom at one point followed her into a public restroom and tried to confront her at the Boston marathon this month.

We know that Democrats are grown-ups and want a bill that’s paid for, as they don’t want to saddle future generations with debt. That stands in sharp contrast to Republicans who start wars and saddle taxpayers with billions in debt.

Details have emerged that Sinema has been meeting with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Reporting for The Wall Street Journal, Andy Duehren states that “the pair have discussed tax on billionaires' gains and a tax on corporate book income.”

Mother Jones Kara Voght reported that Sinema’s insistence on no corporate tax increases “could get Democrats to put new taxes on the mega rich.” 

With that revenue-raising door closing, a window to a onetime progressive pipedream appears to be opening: Sinema’s intransigence could push more Democrats to embrace significant new taxes on billionaires as a means to subsidize child care, offer paid family leave, increase the social safety net, and combat climate change.

Various publications say there are roughly 700 billionaires in the United States. If Sinema and the Democrats fully embrace the Warren Plan to raise taxes on billionaires to pay for the budget bill, will anyone complain aside from the 700 billionaires who do everything in their power to avoid paying taxes in the first place? 

I think NOT. 

If this happens, I will be thrilled. And our LGBTQ Senator from Arizona, Kyrsten Sinema, will have to be hailed as a shero!

Straight talk indeed.

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