Bisexual Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) is being shredded for upholding the Senate filibuster and blocking possible gun reform even as she expressed heartbreak over Tuesday’s Uvalde, Texas elementary school shooting that killed 19 children and 2 adults.
“We are horrified and heartbroken by the senseless tragedy unfolding at Robb Elementary School in Texas and grateful to the first responders for acting swiftly. No families should ever have to fear violence in their children’s schools,” Sinema wrote in a May 24 tweet.
“Just stop,” Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) tweeted in response. “Unless you are willing to break the filibuster to actually pass sensible gun control measures you might as well just say ‘thoughts and prayers’.”
Republican politicians are notorious for offering “thoughts and prayers” after a mass shooting while avoiding any measures to actually prevent the massacres. Since Joe Biden was elected president, Sinema has slowly become more and more Republican-lite in her politics.
The 18-year-old shooter entered the predominantly Latino and lower-income Robb Elementary School on Tuesday morning clad in body armor and carrying a handgun and rifle. The shooter then killed 20 individuals located inside a fourth-grade classroom. He barricaded himself in the school and traded fire with police officials until an officer shot him dead. The massacre marks the 27th school shooting this year alone.
While Democrats have long sought federal gun control measures to help reduce mass shootings, the likelihood of passing any such legislation remains unlikely due to the Senate filibuster. Filibuster rules require 60 Senators to vote in favor of legislation before it can become law.
With the Senate split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans (and Republicans uniformly opposed to any gun control laws), the only way that Democrats can possibly pass national firearm reform would be to eliminate the filibuster. Eliminating it would allow the Democrats to unanimously vote in favor of such legislation while relying on a tiebreaking vote from Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris.
However, both Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sinema have long opposed repealing the filibuster. In a January 2022 speech, Sinema said, “There is no need for me to restate my long-standing support for the 60-vote threshold to pass legislation. There’s no need for me to restate its role protecting our country from wild reversals in federal policy.”
“What is the legislative filibuster other than a tool that requires new federal policy to be broadly supported by Senators representing a broader cross-section of Americans – a guardrail, inevitably viewed as an obstacle by whoever holds the Senate majority, but which in reality ensures that millions of Americans represented by the minority party have a voice in the process?” she added.
Numerous pundits and commenters have pointed out that the filibuster has also resulted in the blocking of pro-LGBTQ, pro-reproductive rights, pro-voting rights and other progressive legislation supported by wide swaths of Americans. Approximately 52 percent of U.S. voters support stricter gun laws, according to a 2021 Gallup poll.
Sinema’s opposition to filibuster reform has led various Twitter commenters to criticize her tweet expressing heartbreak over the school shooting victims.