October 23, 2021

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Sinema jaunts off for European fundraising trip, while progressives fight for our future


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Jayapal also appeared on CNN Wednesday to reject the idea of a needing a self-imposed deadline of Oct. 31 to get the reconciliation bill done. Surface transportation funding, which has been extended, expires then. But as Jayapal said, “We’ve had 29 short term extensions” of transportation funding. “We can certainly do that again.” She also challenged Sinema and her colleague in chaos, Sen. Joe Manchin, to lay out their demands and engage in discussions with other members.

She got some backup on that from a Senate colleague, Elizabeth Warren, who appeared on ABC’s The View on Wednesday. Warren said she would not not “negotiate against myself” and demanded the two on “the other side,” Manchin and Sinema, “put on the table what they don’t want, what they want to cut […] Every time someone says to me, ‘well I don’t like that price tag,’ my answer is, ‘then tell me what you want to cut,’” Warren said. “Do you really say to the mommas of America, ‘you know, you don’t really need childcare.’ And keep in mind, with women out in the workforce, one out of four right now says the big problem (is) they don’t have affordable, accessible childcare. Are you really going to say to them ‘too bad’?”

Meanwhile, Sinema—who only talks to the White House and only when she feels like it, apparently—is spending her week in London and Paris on a fundraising trip. “Ms. Sinema’s office declined to say how long she would be abroad, what countries she was visiting, how the trip was being paid for and whether she was doing any additional fund-raising for her own campaign,” The New York Times reports. Imagine that: Sinema refusing to answer any questions. “Her political team had reached out to set up meetings in London and Paris, according to two people familiar with the matter.”

It is legal for lawmakers to fundraise overseas as long as the contributions they receive are from American citizens. It is slightly obnoxious to fundraise in London and Paris when you are the primary obstacle to working families getting child care assistance, or seniors and disabled people having access to dental care.

Sinema’s spokesperson, John LaBombard, didn’t help her much: “So far this week, Senator Sinema has held several calls—including with President Biden, the White House team, Senator Schumer’s team, and other Senate and House colleagues—to continue discussions on the proposed budget reconciliation package,” he told the Times. “Those conversations are ongoing.” That might have been in response to a Politico piece Wednesday in which a Democratic senator reported Sinema telling them: “I’m not going to share with you or with Schumer or with Pelosi,” what she wants. “I have already told the White House what I am willing to do and what I’m not willing to do. I’m not mysterious. It’s not that I can’t make up my mind. I communicated it to them in detail. They just don’t like what they’re hearing.”

No report on whether this fundraising trip for Sinema includes a side trip to Versailles, where she would surely feel right at home.

The Times takes the opportunity to remind readers of Sinema’s previous eyebrow-raising money events during these negotiations, like the  D.C. fundraiser five business lobbying groups held for her in late September. Sponsors of that little soiree included groups that are officially opposed to the budget reconciliation bill for Build Back Better. Just days after that, the Times recalls, “Ms. Sinema traveled to Arizona where she had a ‘retreat’ for her political action committee at a high-end resort and spa in Phoenix. When she left Washington, the reason that her spokesman provided was a medical appointment for a foot injury.”

It’s almost enough to make you think Sinema doesn’t give a damn about anything other than getting money to go to Paris, to spa retreats, and for opposing the will of the majority of Americans.

She and Manchin have been doing their damnedest to prolong these negotiations in the belief that it would break a long-standing agreement between the White House and congressional Democrats on this initiative, and force the House to vote on the fossil fuel-heavy hard infrastructure bill they structured with Republicans. Then they could refuse their support for the reconciliation bill and get what they really wanted—what the moneyed interests behind them really want.

As of now, the White House is reportedly running out of patience, sending a message to lawmakers that the “time for negotiations is nearing an end … soon it will be time for negotiations to conclude.” Meanwhile, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is still trying to determine what exactly it is Manchin and Sinema would agree to, since they seem unwilling to put it into words.





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