Meet the most powerful woman in Washington not named Pelosi or Harris

President BidenJoe BidenExpanding child tax credit could lift 4 million children out of poverty: analysis Maria Bartiromo defends reporting: 'Keep trashing me, I'll keep telling the truth' The Memo: The center strikes back MORE is attempting to transform the country in the first year of his presidency more than any of the previous 13 presidents, going all the way back to FDR. And with a Democratic-controlled House and essentially a Democratic-controlled Senate, who’s to stop him? 

Enter Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinThe Memo: The center strikes back Sunday shows - Voting rights, infrastructure in the spotlight Democratic clamor grows for select committee on Jan. 6 attack MORE (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who are both publicly rebuking their fellow Democrats, particularly regarding their support for abolishing the filibuster, to the point that Biden is openly calling them out for it.  

“I hear all the folks on TV saying, ‘Why doesn’t Biden get this done?'” Biden said in a speech this week in regards to the difficulty he’s having enacting his agenda. “Well, because Biden only has a majority of effectively four votes in the House, and a tie in the Senate, with two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends.”


Of course, this is not true. According to FiveThirtyEight.com, Manchin and Sinema have voted with Biden’s position 100 percent of the time. For context, Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Memo: The center strikes back Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Democrats have turned solidly against gas tax MORE (D-Mass.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Memo: The center strikes back Sanders against infrastructure deal with more gas taxes, electric vehicle fees Sunday shows - Voting rights, infrastructure in the spotlight MORE (I-Vt.) have each voted with Biden’s position 97 percent of the time. Consequently, the Washington Post awarded Biden Three Pinocchios for the false statement.

Manchin and Sinema have been in complete lockstep with the president to this point, but the rubber now meets the road as it pertains to the filibuster, which Biden passionately defended as a senator but now seemingly wants to blow up

Democratic activists in the media are demanding that the filibuster be abolished, and warning that not getting rid of it will result in everything from racism at the polls to a wipeout in the 2022 midterms. 

“When it comes to the filibuster, immigration is a big issue, of course, related to the filibuster, but there's also Republicans who are passing bill after bill trying to restrict voting rights,” PBS White House Correspondent Yamiche Alcindor, who sometimes plays an objective journalist on TV, said to the president during a March press conference. "Why not back a filibuster rule that at least gets around issues, including voting rights or immigration? [South Carolina Congressman] Jim ClyburnJames (Jim) Enos ClyburnPelosi, leaders seek to squelch Omar controversy with rare joint statement Black Republican advocates his case for CBC membership Meet the most powerful woman in Washington not named Pelosi or Harris MORE, someone, of course, who you know very well, has backed the idea of a filibuster rule when it comes to civil rights and voting rights?"

“In a Senate without a filibuster, Democrats have some chance of passing some rough facsimile of the agenda they’ve promised,” the New York Times’s Ezra Klein stated in an op-ed. “In a Senate with a filibuster, they do not.”


“They have preferred the false peace of decorum to the true progress of democracy. If they choose that path again, they will lose their majority in 2022, and they will deserve it,” Klein adds. 

Yep. Nothing screams democracy quite like one party ramming through legislation while blowing up the filibuster, which Biden once passionately defended.

“It is not only a bad idea, it upsets the constitutional design and it disservices the country,” Biden said in a 2005 speech. “No longer would the Senate be that ‘different kind of legislative body’ that the Founders intended. No longer would the Senate be the ‘saucer’ to cool the passions of the immediate majority.”

Manchin and Sinema, channeling Biden circa 2005, have stated that they will not back abolishing the filibuster. But of course none of Biden’s big-ticket items – including his $2 trillion “infrastructure” bill, a push among Democrats to permanently change how we vote and the enactment of police “reform” that makes departments weaker as crime skyrockets – can happen without ending the filibuster. 

Sinema explained her opposition in a statement last week that set off a firestorm on liberal Twitter.

“The filibuster was not created to accomplish one thing or another,” she said. “It was created to bring together members of different parties to find compromise and coalition.”

In response, MSNBC’s Joy Reid accused Sinema and Manchin of opposing democracy itself. ABC's Joy BeharJosephine (Joy) Victoria BeharAmerica Ferrera rips Harris's 'cruel' border comments: 'A slap in the face' Caitlyn Jenner compares herself to Trump: We need another 'disrupter' Meet the most powerful woman in Washington not named Pelosi or Harris MORE also used the "destroy democracy" angle, which isn't hyperbolic or anything.

And at a recent press conference held by Sinema, a reporter posed her "question" this way.

“Some people are saying that you have a choice between the filibuster and democracy. Your answer to that?”

Is that really a question?

Then there's former Obama senior adviser David Plouffe, who told Brian Williams on MSNBC recently, “The most important issue now facing the country, and the politicians in Washington is saving this democracy. And Senator Sinema, I'm glad she won her race in 2018, but she said today the filibuster is there to preserve democracy. But if we're left with a choice between saving the filibuster and ending democracy, let's just turn the lights out now, because that's where we're headed."

Progressive Democrats and their media allies want the filibuster gone in the name of protecting democracy, or something. Their obsession with ditching the filibuster therefore makes Krysten Sinema more powerful than the speaker of the House or the vice president.

Because without the support of Sinema (along with Manchin), Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMaria Bartiromo defends reporting: 'Keep trashing me, I'll keep telling the truth' Democratic clamor grows for select committee on Jan. 6 attack GOP increasingly balks at calling Jan. 6 an insurrection MORE (D-Calif.) will likely be retired after the 2022 midterms when control of the House returns to the GOP, and Vice President Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden, Harris send well wishes for Father's Day The U.S. and Mexico must revamp institutions supporting their joint efforts Harris signals a potential breakthrough in US-Mexico cooperation MORE’s tie-breaking vote in the Senate will no longer be needed.

Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist for The Hill.