- Sen. Kyrsten Sinema said in a new interview with the Washington Post that: "No one tells me what to do."
- The moderate Democrat was referencing her deal-making style.
- Sinema has been a key player in negotiating President Joe Biden's agenda.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, a Democratic centrist who's been a holdout during negotiations over President Joe Biden's agenda, sought to explain herself in a new Washington Post interview published Friday.
"No one tells me what to do," Sinema told the news outlet.
The comments come as the House passed Biden's hefty economic spending package, which includes roughly $2 trillion worth of investments to strengthen the country's social safety net and aggressively combat the climate emergency. The legislation, known as the Build Back Better Act, advances a slew of Democratic priorities, from universal pre-K to an expanded child tax credit.
Sinema has been a key player in negotiating a deal on the Senate side, though revealed little to The Post about what she'd like to see changed in the House bill as it currently stands.
"So, that's not the agreement the president put out in his framework several weeks ago," Sinema said. "While I'm not going to comment on what's happening in the House at this moment, I can just refer you back to the comments I made when the president put out his framework."
"I'm looking forward to working with him to get this done," she added, per The Post.
When Biden released his framework at the end of last month, Sinema released a statement that read: "After months of productive, good-faith negotiations with President Biden and the White House, we have made significant progress on the proposed budget reconciliation package. I look forward to getting this done, expanding economic opportunities and helping everyday families get ahead."
Yet her vague remarks to The Post doesn't lessen uncertainty around how swiftly the Senate will be able to act on a bill meant to be the centerpiece of Biden's economic agenda. All 50 Senate Democrats must be onboard for the social and climate legislation to clear the upper chamber. The Arizona Democrat doesn't tend to speak publicly, and some of her Democratic colleagues expressed frustration this fall over her tight-lipped nature.
Sinema played a pivotal role quashing the proposed individual and corporate rate hikes that would have funded a major chunk of Biden's spending plan. As a result, swaths of President Donald Trump's signature tax cuts are poised to survive an era of Democratic control of Congress and the White House, underscoring Sinema's influence over her party's domestic agenda.
She told the Post that she was upfront about her opposition to tax increases in negotiations, arguing they would damage the nation's economic competitiveness.
In the same interview with The Post, the senator said that she's "surprised" whenever critics say she's been difficult to understand.
"I'm very straightforward about what I believe in and why I'm doing what I do," she told The Post.
The Build Back Better deal comes on the heels of Biden's $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, which he signed into law on Monday. Sinema was similarly a major negotiator on that bill, working alongside a group of Republicans to to draft a plan that eventually reached Biden's desk.