Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersRepublican spin on Biden is off the mark Sanders on Medicare expansion in spending package: 'It's not coming out' Briahna Joy Gray: Biden must keep progressive promises or risk losing midterms MORE (I-Vt.) declined to sign a proposed statement condemning recent protests against Sen. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaDems look to keep tax on billionaires in spending bill Sunday shows - Democrats' spending plan in the spotlight Independent senator: 'Talking filibuster' or 'alternative' an option MORE (D-Ariz.) because it did not address her resistance to prescription drug reform and the Democrats' budget reconciliation package, Axios reported.
Footage circulated over the weekend of activists following Sinema into a bathroom at Arizona State University, where she teaches, and calling on her to support the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. Sinema blasted the move in a statement on Monday saying it “was not legitimate protest."
Jeff Giertz, communications director for Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerSenate Democrats call for diversity among new Federal Reserve Bank presidents Progressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program Emanuel to take hot seat in Senate confirmation hearing MORE (D-N.J.), coordinated a joint statement among lawmakers condemning the protests against Sinema, asking senators' offices if they'd be interested in signing and mentioning Booker was open to edits, according to screenshots of the conversations.
Sanders’s communications director, Mike Casca, asked for a line to be added. The proposed change would have included "While we hope Senator Sinema will change her position on prescription drug reform and support a major reconciliation bill" before an already existing line saying “what happened in that video was a violation of her privacy that has no place in our public discourse, and we resolutely condemn it.”
Giertz apparently told Casca “my boss can’t agree to that edit,” to which Sanders’s office replied, “Sanders will not be signing, so please cut ‘Senate Democratic Leadership Team’ from headline.”
Axios reported that the communication was confirmed by several senators' offices.
Those close to the Arizona senator have reportedly been upset that the White House and fellow lawmakers have not been more vocal in condemning the protests, Axios noted.
In her statement earlier this week, Sinema said: "It is unacceptable for activist organizations to instruct their members to jeopardize themselves by engaging in unlawful activities such as gaining entry to closed university buildings, disrupting learning environments, and filming students in a restroom."
The Hill has reached out to Booker, Sinema and Sanders for comment.
The reconciliation package has created a wedge among Democrats who are struggling to break an impasse on both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a much larger reconciliation package.
While the majority of Senate Democrats agree with Sanders's insistence on a $3.5 trillion price tag on the reconciliation bill, they have indicated a willingness to narrow down the package. Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinAngus King: Losing climate provisions in reconciliation bill weakens Biden's hands in Glasgow Independent senator: 'Talking filibuster' or 'alternative' an option Rep. Khanna expresses frustration about Sinema MORE (D-W.Va.) has opened the door to a figure in the range of $1.9 to $2.2 billion, while Sinema has continued to say little about her terms for supporting the bill.
Progressives scored a win last week at blocking a vote on the infrastructure bill, threatening to tank it if the reconciliation package was not passed first. House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDems look to keep tax on billionaires in spending bill Sunday shows - Democrats' spending plan in the spotlight Pelosi won't say if she'll run for reelection in 2022 MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerManchin meeting with Biden, Schumer in Delaware Progressives' optimism for large reforms dwindles Democratic frustration with Sinema rises MORE (D-N.Y.) have set a new deadline of the end of October to pass both bills.