Sinema says fix to Senate gridlock is to 'change your behavior' rather than abolish filibuster

Kyrsten Sinema (file)

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, facing increasing pressure to remove the legislative hurdle holding up much of the Democratic agenda, said the filibuster "protects the democracy of our nation" and that she won’t vote to remove it. 

"I have long been a supporter of the filibuster because it is a tool that protects the democracy of our nation rather than allowing our country to ricochet wildly every two to four years back and forth between policies," Sinema said, appearing before the press with GOP Sen. John Cornyn, Texas, after they had toured migrant facilities at the border. 

The moderate Arizona Democrat has become a thorn in the side of some in her caucus looking to do away with the 60-vote hurdle, which requires them to court 10 Republican votes in the split Senate. Sinema, with her centrist counterpart Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., seemingly faced heat from President Biden on Wednesday who called out "two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends."


The president had been pushing for the Senate to take up two bills to expand voting access.

Sinema rejected a "false choice" between the filibuster and Democratic priorities and said that the solution was to "change your behavior" rather than to change the rules. 

"When you have a system that’s not working effectively - and I think most would agree the Senate is not exactly a well-oiled machine - the way to fix that is to change your behavior, not to eliminate the rules," Sinema said. 


One reporter noted that some say the filibuster is a relic of the Jim Crow era. "The filibuster was not created as a tool to accomplish one thing or another, it was created as a tool to bring together members of different parties to find compromise," Sinema shot back. She added that the Senate was "designed to be a place where you cooled the passions of the House, where you work to find compromise, and importantly, where you protect the rights of the minority from the majority." 

Manchin has expressed similar sentiments toward the legislative hurdle, even as Republicans used it to block the creation of a commission to study the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. 

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