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Kyrsten Sinema

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.)—seen here addressing the 2019 Arizona Technology Innovation Summit—has come under intense fire for obstructing her own party's flagship social and climate investment legislation. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc)

'Hanging Your Constituents Out to Dry': 5 Sinema Advisers Quit in Protest

"You have become one of the principal obstacles to progress, answering to big donors rather than your own people."

Brett Wilkins

As U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema continues to be a leading impediment to her own party's flagship Build Back Better package, five of the Arizona Democrat's advisers resigned in protest Thursday, accusing her of "hanging your constituents out to dry" while favoring the big money donors who pad her campaign coffers.

"We shouldn't have to buy representation from you, and your failure to stand by your people and see their urgent needs is alarming."

In a letter obtained by The New York Times, five U.S. military veterans who served on a 20-member Sinema advisory board since 2019 excoriated the freshman senator for obstructing key parts of the $3.5 trillion social and climate investment bill, and for refusing to abolish the filibuster.

"You have become one of the principal obstacles to progress, answering to big donors rather than your own people," the veterans wrote. "We shouldn't have to buy representation from you, and your failure to stand by your people and see their urgent needs is alarming."

The Times said the letter will be featured in a new advertisement from Common Defense, a progressive veterans' group that has previously targeted Sinema.

The letter comes a day after two dozen Arizona organizations and the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen sent a letter to Sinema imploring her to "stop obstructing" provisions in the Build Back Better bill expanding Medicare to include dental, hearing, and vision benefits. The groups are also urging the senator to support empowering Medicare to leverage its prodigious purchasing power to negotiate lower U.S. prescription drug prices, which are often the highest in the world.

Common Dreams reported last week that Sinema is the recent recipient of over $100,000 in campaign contributions from pharma- and finance-linked donors apparently rewarding her opposition to the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package.

The resignations also came a day after Republican senators filibustered the Freedom to Vote Act, a compromise voting rights bill, sparking renewed calls to "end the Jim Crow filibuster." Sinema has faced widespread criticism for claiming the arcane Senate procedure—which has so often been used as a weapon to kill civil rights legislation—"protects the democracy of our nation."

Sylvia González Andersh, one of the veterans who resigned from Sinema's advisory board, said in an interview with the Times that "Democrats were out desperately trying to help her win the seat, and now we feel like, what was it for?"

"Nobody knows what she is thinking because she doesn't tell anybody anything," Andersh added. "It's very sad to think that someone who you worked for that hard to get elected is not even willing to listen."


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