Out Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D) is often criticized for not aligning with the Democratic Party’s agenda, but when it came to establishing a federal commission investigating the insurrection at the United States Capitol that took place on January 6, the bisexual Senator was one of the most earnest advocates for the proposal.
Yet, when it came time to vote for the actual proposal, Sinema was not present in the Senate chambers. Although six Republicans crossed party lines to vote with Democrats in support of the measure, Sinema and 10 other Senators did not even show up. The measure failed by a vote of 54 for and 35 against — it needed 60 votes to pass.
In addition to nine Republicans abstaining or not being present to vote, Sinema and Sen. Patty Murphy (D-WA) did not vote in favor of the measure.
Responding to multiple requests for comment or explanation, Sinema nor her office has yet to explain how, or why, she missed the key vote. According to the Arizona Republic, all her spokesperson, Hannah Hurley, would say was that Sinema “will be entering into the Congressional record that she would’ve voted yes.”
While her intent was to vote yes, her inability to actually do so has many calling her out. Sinema went out of the way to join Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), another Senator criticized for not aligning with the Democratic Party at times, and issue a statement calling for support in favor of the bipartisan commission.
“The events of January 6th were horrific. We could never have imagined an attack on Congress and our Capitol at the hands of our own citizens,” Manchin and Sinema stated. “In the hours and days following the attack, Republican and Democratic members of Congress condemned the violence and vowed to hold those responsible accountable so our Democracy will never experience an attack like this again.”
They then stated that they “implore our Senate Republican colleagues to work with us to find a path forward on a commission.” Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and other Republican leaders expressed opposition to the matter despite many of their condemnations at the time as noted by Manchin and Sinema.
Yet, Sinema was not even in the chambers when it was time to vote, listed officially as “not voting” in the Senate roll call, as opposed to “present” or another designation.
It’s just another issue that has gained Sinema criticism in her tenure in the Senate, especially as the Senate is now evenly divided at 50-50, and Democrats can’t enact most of their proposed legislation without her support to change the filibuster rules. Sinema and Manchin have both continued to oppose filibuster rule changes that would allow for a simple majority to pass resolutions in the Senate as opposed to 60.
Now her constituent, supporters, celebrities, and supporters are all attacking Sinema for her failure to vote.
“What’s your excuse for shirking your duty today to defend your country from a domestic terrorist attack?” asked actress Patricia Arquette.
Manchin, who expressed his disappointment at the “unfathomable” failure of the resolution, is among others facing criticism as well. A brunt of it, however, is directed at Sinema, since Manchin casted a vote in favor of the measure.
Despite their party leader’s positions, six Republican Senators would vote in favor of forming the commission:
Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Mike Braun (R-IN), Richard Burr (R-NC), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), Sen. James Risch (R-ID), Richard Shelby (R-AL), and Pat Toomey (R-PA) were the other nine Senators who did not cast a vote.
Does anyone know why @kyrstensinema skipped the vote on the Jan 6th commission and bailed on her much-hyped push to bring in the magical 10 R votes to break a filibuster?@mkraju @sahilkapur @yvonnewingett
— Kai Newkirk #EndTheFilibuster (@kai_newkirk) May 28, 2021
.@kyrstensinema Why did you miss a vote on a commission to investigate a terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol?
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) May 28, 2021
I can't believe Kyrsten Sinema overlooked an opportunity to perform her coquettish curtsy/no-vote. pic.twitter.com/eREy6KoXvX
— Mrs. Betty Bowers (@BettyBowers) May 29, 2021
— Leah McElrath 🏳️🌈 (@leahmcelrath) May 28, 2021
That's me in the front row center. I exhausted myself to get you elected. I will double my effort to ensure you are a one-term U.S. Senator. Shame on you, Arizona deserves better. #KrystenSinema pic.twitter.com/E28MS0XxWl
— AZ Hotspur (@ArizonaHotspur) May 29, 2021
— Brandon Wolf (@bjoewolf) May 28, 2021
@kyrstensinema What’s your excuse for shirking your duty today to defend your country from a domestic terrorist attack?
— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) May 29, 2021
And what are you gonna do about it, Senator? Oh right … nothing, except continuing to wrap your arms around the Jim Crow filibuster and waste America’s time “negotiating” with seditionists. This failed vote is on you and @SenatorSinema as much as the GQP. https://t.co/jcTO3rAZEC
— Joy-Ann (Pro-Democracy) Reid 😷 (@JoyAnnReid) May 28, 2021
This isn't an Arizona thing. Having Mark Kelly in the Senate has dispelled that. Just bizarre behavior. We need a stronger leader who can rein this in. https://t.co/K8TE549isg
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) May 29, 2021
Absolutely stunning that Kyrsten Sinema doesn’t even bother to show up to vote for the #January6thCommission
And then doesn’t even bother to explain her absence
She pretends that nothing happened
The American people aren’t even important enough to get an excuse
— Lindy Li (@lindyli) May 29, 2021
In 2018 I knocked on doors for @kyrstensinema in the 90 degree heat with a baby strapped on, just so she could now obstruct every bill I care about. I can’t wait to volunteer for whoever primary challenges her…she’s got to go. pic.twitter.com/R2lixREhp5
— Alysha Ramirez Hall (@DrRamirezHall) May 29, 2021