Senate

MLK III says ‘history will remember Sen. Sinema unkindly’ after she rejects filibuster change

Martin Luther King III reacted to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s (D-Ariz.) Thursday announcement that she will not support a change to the Senate filibuster, writing in a statement that history will remember the Arizona Democrat “unkindly.”

“History will remember Senator Sinema unkindly. While Sen. Sinema remains stubborn in her ‘optimism,’ Black and Brown Americans are losing their right to vote,” King III wrote in a statement shortly after Sinema’s floor speech regarding the filibuster.

“She’s siding with the legacy of Bull Connor and George Wallace instead of the legacy of my father and all those who fought to make real our democracy,” King III added.

Sinema doubled down on her support for the 60-vote legislative filibuster on Thursday, saying during a floor speech, “I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country.”

She said she has had “long-standing support” for the filibuster, adding, “It is the view I continue to hold.”

“Eliminating the 60-vote threshold will simply guarantee that we lose a critical tool that we need to safeguard our democracy,” Sinema said.

Shortly after Sinema reaffirmed her stance on the filibuster, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) followed suit, writing in a statement “I will vote no to eliminate or weaken the filibuster.”

Sinema and Manchin’s resistance to filibuster reform, though expected, dealt a blow to Senate Democrats who saw amending the procedure as a way to enact voting rights legislation amid GOP opposition.

Fifty votes are needed to change Senate rules, meaning that in the 50-50-split upper chamber, all Democrats must be behind the effort for it to succeed.

President Biden recognized the dampened chances the party now has for passing election reform, telling reporters after a meeting with Senate Democrats regarding the filibuster, “The honest-to-God answer is I don’t know whether we can get this done.”

“I hope we can get this done but I’m not sure,” he added.

The House passed a voting rights bill on Thursday in a party-line vote, sending it to the Senate for consideration. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said he plans to force a vote on changing Senate rules by Jan. 17 if Republicans again block voting rights legislation, though he did not outline how he will take on such an effort.

King III and a coalition of grassroots organizations, nonetheless, are planning a concerted push for voting rights legislation in the coming days to coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which falls on Jan. 17.

King III, the son of King Jr., and his family are planning to join the annual D.C. Peace Walk in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 17. King III’s family and local groups are also planning on gathering with supporters in Phoenix, Ariz.

Arndrea Waters King, the wife of King III, suggested that Sinema’s opposition to changing the filibuster will extend the years “of white supremacy’s chokehold on our democracy.”

“When the 1891 civil rights bill was filibustered, it ushered in 100 years of Jim Crow. If Senator Sinema’s position remains, she’ll extend that century of white supremacy’s chokehold on our democracy,” King said in a statement.

“We’ll be in Phoenix this weekend to remind Senator Sinema what Dr. King once said: ‘The time is always right to do what is right,’” she added.

Tags Arndrea Waters King Charles Schumer Filibuster filibuster reform Joe Biden Joe Manchin Kyrsten Sinema Martin Luther King III voting rights
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