After months operating in the shadow of fellow holdout Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema is coming in for overdue scrutiny of her rejection of President Joe Biden’s legislation. She doesn’t give a clue of what it would take to garner her support, unless it’s an imprimatur from Mitch McConnell she’ll never get, given his promise to stop Biden in his tracks no matter what.
She’s being chased by reporters and activists everywhere, including into the bathroom, just in time to get herself some undeserved sympathy for objecting to the Building Back Better bill, a $3.5 trillion package that would expand the safety net to correct some of society’s inequities laid bare by the pandemic. She broadly objects to any bill—even one that would expand the child tax credit to lift 4.3 million children out of poverty—that comes up by way of reconciliation, the process that allows a simple majority of yeas to pass bills that impact the budget. Other than that, she mostly postures.
When Sinema has come in for criticism, she’s pleaded sexism—of which there is a massive amount in politics. Still, if you ask if she’s harder to deal with than Manchin, the answer is yes. He comes to play. He stayed around last weekend to work on the bill. That bathroom she was heckled in was in Arizona, where she went, she explained, to see a doctor about her sore foot, as if there were no orthopedists in Washington. She failed to mention she’d be hobbling to a fundraiser for wealthy donors at a luxury hotel while she was there, perhaps to assure them she won’t be voting to raise their taxes.