U.S. Reps. Kyrsten Sinema and Tulsi Gabbard visit the West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery with the local Disabled American Veterans chapter in October 2015./Sinema campaign.
By Yvonne Wingett Sanchez | Arizona Republic
IN DEPTH: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is building working relationships with her Republican colleagues even as Democratic frustrations mount over her unwillingness to change Senate rules to ease passage of President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda.
In a chamber marked by extreme partisanship, Sinema, D-Ariz., is winning praise from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other GOP senators for her unflinching stance against jettisoning the filibuster, the controversial procedural maneuver that will require Biden’s priorities to clear 60-vote hurdles in the evenly divided 100-member Senate.
Sinema, who campaigned as an independent-minded centrist, has been quietly reaching across the aisle since she joined the Senate in 2019. With the Senate split 50-50, she is hoping those connections will bear fruit in the form of bipartisan deals to raise and permanently change the minimum wage and process asylum-seekers more quickly at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“She isn’t someone who is driven by the crowd. She is driven by her own conscience and by her desire to do what she thinks is right for the people of her state and the country,” Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, told The Arizona Republic. “Sometimes she stands alone. Other times she is able to get groups of people to join with her.
“But I would say she is one of the very rare members of the Senate that is interested in getting things done. Not just talking, but in getting things done.”