Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) on Tuesday said the late Sen. John McCain, the Republican Party’s nominee for president in 2008, is her “personal hero” – the latest example of the Arizona moderate’s willingness to rankle some in her party in the name of bipartisanship.
Sinema, in a Senate floor speech introducing a bipartisan resolution with Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) praising public servants, Sinema said McCain “dedicated his life to public service, both in uniform and here in the U.S. Senate.”
Sinema also singled out Sandra Day O’Connor, an Arizonan who became the Supreme Court’s swing vote after being nominated to the bench by Ronald Reagan, as a “dedicated public servant who left [her] mark on our state and our country.”
“Public service is not about winning partisan political battles or getting your name out on cable news,” added Sinema, who is well-known to evade reporters at the Capitol and decline to answer questions.
Sinema’s praise for McCain, who killed Republicans’ efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2017, comes as she stands with just a handful of Democrats opposing a $15 minimum wage and pledging not to eliminate the filibuster.
Sinema has drawn the ire of many in her party in recent months by voting against a $15 minimum wage with an emotive thumbs down, posting of photo of herself wearing a “f*** off” ring to Instagram and telling business groups she makes decisions by “listening to the business leaders” as she remains undecided on the pro-union PRO Act.
50. That’s how many Senate Democrats there are, equal to the number of Republicans. That gives moderates like Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) – who, unlike Sinema, revels in the media spotlight and is quick to let people know his positions – outsized power.
What To Watch For
Sinema has been active within a bipartisan group of 20 senators, 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans, and is set to introduce a minimum wage bill with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) that will likely be a compromise between the federal minimum wage of $7.25 and the $15 many Democrats have pushed for.