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Sinema committed to keeping filibuster in place

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TUCSON (KVOA) - Senator Kyrsten Sinema became the first Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate from Arizona in 30 years when she narrowly defeated Martha McSally in 2018.

During the campaign and since taking office, she has touted her bipartisan nature. Sinema is seen as a moderate in a partisan, polarized Washington.

Her objection to ending the filibuster irritates some Democrats. Democrats have narrow control of both houses of Congress.

The Senate currently has 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans.

Vice President Kamala Harris is the tie-breaking vote, the vote that gives Democrats the majority.

On Tuesday, without naming them, President Joe Biden said two Democratic senators, Sinema and West Virginia's Joe Manchin are sometimes voted more often with their GOP colleagues.

"I hear all the folks on T.V. saying 'why doesn't Biden get this done'," President Biden said. "Well, because Biden effectively only has a majority of four votes in the House and a tie in the Senate. With two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends. But, we're not giving up."

Sinema was in Tucson on Tuesday alongside her Republican colleague, John Cornyn of Texas.

They were visiting a migrant facility and discussing a bipartisan border bill just introduced.

Sinema is a supporter of the filibuster, a rule in the Senate that says in order to end debate on legislation and bring a vote to the floor, a supermajority of 60 votes is needed.

"I've long been a supporter of the filibuster because is a tool that protects the democracy of our nation rather than allowing our country to ricochet wildly every two to four years back and forth between policies," Sinema said.

Bonnie Heidler leads Pima County Democratic Party as the chairwoman of the Pima Democratic Party. She said her phone rings a lot with frustrated voters on the other end.

"Washington is just bottle-necked, they don't do anything. What good is government? I don't want to hear that, because there is a lot of good," Heidler said.

Some Democrats want Sinema to reconsider her position on the filibuster.

Heidler hopes Arizona can count on the senator to fight for Democratic policies, policies Heidler believes move the country forward.

"I would hope that any senator that is from Arizona, that is a Democratic senator, would be wanting to push Democratic agendas forward," Heidler said. "That's why we finally voted to turn, finally flip the senate."

"The reality is when you have a system that's not working effectively, and I would think most would agree, the Senate is not a particularly well-oiled machine, the way to fix that is to change your behavior," Sinema said. "Not to eliminate the rules or to change the rules but to change your behavior."

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Eric Fink

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