When we woke up this morning, Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) was trending on Twitter. And you should be pissed off.
Yesterday, she told Politico that she’s opposed to including raising the federal minimum wage to $15 in the COVID-19 relief package moving through Congress -- a key provision in Biden’s plan. Her argument isn’t based on the merits of raising the wage, it’s about process: she doesn’t believe the provision should be moved via reconciliation, which would allow it to be approved and move to President Biden’s desk with a simple majority vote.
(Already angry? You can click here to donate to fund all our work, including holding Democrats accountable when they fall short of what we need from them.)
She didn’t stop there, though.
“I want to restore the 60-vote threshold for all elements of the Senate’s work,” she said.
In other words:
- Kyrsten Sinema is opposed to using her party’s Senate majority to give 32 million workers a raise -- the majority of whom are essential workers who have been hit hardest by this pandemic.
- She wants to make it harder to pass popular legislation, is doubling down on her support of the arcane Jim Crow filibuster, and even suggested EXPANDING it.
Sinema is making a pretty big gamble: that her constituents will care more about “process” (translation: following Senate rules that were designed to uphold white supremacy) than they will about passing massively popular1 proposals to help people.
First off, she’s wrong. We care about results, and the voters have delivered Democrats a mandate. We expect them to use it. And it’s not just about the fight for $15. It’s about everything we care about.
Because while Kyrsten Sinema continues her process arguments, any real progress that the Senate could achieve for people is stalled. Remember -- Mitch McConnell has already said that he’ll be the grim reaper of progressive legislation.
❌ An inclusive recovery? Stalled.
❌ Tackling climate change? Stalled.
❌ Expanding health care coverage? Stalled.
❌ Unrigging our democracy? Stalled.
❌ Combatting voter suppression? Stalled.
❌ Making D.C. a state? Stalled.
With Kyrsten Sinema’s vote, we can overrule Mitch McConnell. But if she decides to put process over people and side with him, she’ll hand him victory.
The question for Kyrsten Sinema is this: does she care about process, or does she care about people? Because she can’t have both.
At this point we usually get some people worried -- after all, with the GOP up to their usual tricks, should we really be going after a purple-state Democrat? But we’re not going after her -- we’re pushing her to stand up for us. We know she can do better. And we’re going to keep pressuring her (and Manchin, and King, and every other senator) until they do what’s right, not what’s easy. It worked back in 2017 on John McCain (remember this? 👎) and it will work now if we all pitch in.
Let’s talk about what we’re going to do about it
Persuading Kyrsten Sinema isn’t going to be easy, and it’s not going to happen overnight -- but we are going to work like hell, hand-in-hand with Indivisible groups across the state of Arizona, to hold Democrats’ feet to the fire to deliver for the people.
Here’s a look at just some of our plans (but if you’re already convinced, you can click here to fund them and all our work in 2021):
💻 Our policy, digital, and press teams are producing call scripts, landing pages, Soapboxx pages, LTE tools, graphics, click-to-tweet tools, and more. These tools are generating tens of thousands of calls, videos, letters to the editor, emails, and more to priority senators like Senator Sinema demanding that they not let process get in the way of progress on remaking our democracy for the people.
✉️ Our policy and organizing teams are working together on things like statewide sign-on letters and lobby meetings to try to get Senator Sinema and other priority senators to listen to their constituents on our demands like passing S. 1, S. 51, and eliminating the filibuster.
📰 Our press and video teams are working with organizers on the ground to get coverage of the many events and actions local groups have planned so Senator Sinema starts to feel the heat on her home turf via those press clips she receives from her staff daily.
📣 Our digital, creative, and video teams are working on more than $370,000 worth of digital, radio, and newspaper ads in priority states like Arizona on democracy, D.C. statehood, and eliminating the filibuster to generate additional in-state pressure on Senator Sinema and bring new people into this fight.
🧦 Our creative and organizing teams are working together on fun (press-worthy!) tactics for upcoming Senate recesses and tens of thousands of dollars' worth of materials that we can provide to groups to make their work a little easier (think: lots of signs, lots of t-shirts, 51-star flags and maybe a few pairs of socks to remind Democrats like Senator Sinema not to get cold feet on democracy reform!).
These are just some of the things we have planned right now. When all is said and done, we’re planning to spend over $625,000 on hard tactics, not to mention all the staff time and digital infrastructure necessary to win these fights. But we need your support.
Can you chip in $10 to help us in our work to pressure Kyrsten Sinema and all her colleagues to put people before process, reshape our democracy for the people, and support all our work in 2021?
This isn’t going to be easy with folks like Kyrsten Sinema standing in the way. But we will win if we fight this fight together.
P.S. If you have friends in Arizona, ask them to call Kyrsten Sinema today and support the Raise the Wage Act as part of the COVID-19 relief package. We need them to get loud, urgently.
1 In a 2019 study, PEW found that 67% of all Americans support raising the minimum wage to $15 -- and Arizona has already taken important steps to increase their state minimum wage, which is currently $12.15/hr and is set to go up modestly each year as cost-of-living increases. The Raise the Wage Act would simply continue this trend of increasing wages, while benefiting workers in other states who have refused to increase their minimum wages above poverty levels. This policy benefits all workers while setting states on an even economic playing field.