Gallego accuses Sinema of not applauding Biden’s call to negotiate Medicare

Correction: This story has been updated to clarify that Rep. Ruben Gallego is accusing Sen. Krysten Sinema of not applauding President Biden’s Medicare comments. A spokesperson for the senator has said she did applaud.

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) accused Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) of not applauding President Biden during the State of the Union address when he called for negotiating decreased Medicare drug prices for seniors.

“Arizonans elected Senator Sinema to lower prescription drug costs and ensure access to healthcare for all. She abandoned us the second she got to the Senate to do Big Pharma’s bidding and now she’s rubbing it in our faces,” Gallego said in a release moments after Biden stepped down from the podium on Tuesday. 

“Not clapping for our seniors getting the Social Security payments they need? Or the affordable healthcare that could save their lives? Sinema’s silence speaks louder than words,” Gallego said.

The senator can be seen on C-SPAN video clapping when Biden commented on capping the cost of insulin and standing to applaud with the crowd when the president, after a tense exchange with Republicans, called to “stand with seniors” and asserted “we will not cut Social Security.”

The camera at one point also pans to the Arizona senator sitting still during applause after Biden called to expand coverage on Medicaid.

An outspoken Sinema critic, Gallego has entered the race for her Senate seat, which is up for grabs in 2024.

Sinema surprised Democrats just after the midterms last year to announce she was leaving the party to register as an Independent, a move Gallego criticized as “putting her own interests ahead of getting things done for Arizonans.” 

Gallego was considered a possible Sinema challenger even before her party switch, after Democrats grew frustrated with the centrist senator for acting as a roadblock to some of the party’s legislative priorities during the last session.

Sinema made a splash at the SOTU, showing up to the joint session of Congress in a bright yellow dress with oversized sleeves, a stark contrast against the more reserved wardrobe choices of many others in the room.

Updated: Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 12:02 p.m.

Tags Arizona Biden Big Pharma drug costs kyrsten sinema medicare Ruben Gallego Ruben Gallego SOTU U.S. House Of Representatives U.S. Senate

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