AOC and House Dems ‘who think they run the Senate’ called out over criticism of Sinema vote

Fox News contributor and Townhall editor Katie Pavlich pushed back against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other House Democrats for criticizing Sen. Kyrsten Sinema after the Arizona Democrat voted against a measure raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

In addition to criticizing Sinema for her refusal to back the measure, “AOC” also railed at the senator for the manner in which she lodged her objection: Using a ‘thumbs-down’ gesture on the floor of the Senate.

“Imagine having the ganas to go home and ask minimum wage workers to support you after going back on your own documented stance to help crush their biggest chance at a wage hike during their longest drought of wage increases since the law’s very inception. Sin vergüenza,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter.

Pavlich, an Arizona native, clapped back at the Bronx Democrat for criticizing Sinema.

“This display wasn’t about taunting the working class. AZ’s Sinema is a) representing her constituents, who don’t want a $15 minimum wage (tried/bad in Flagstaff) b) pushing back far left House members who think they run the Senate (how cute), specifically a certain NY socialist,” Pavlich wrote.

For her part, Sinema explained her vote in a statement posted online, noting it should be separate from the pending COVID-19 relief bill.

“Senators in both parties have shown support for raising the federal minimum wage and the Senate should hold an open debate and amendment process on raising the minimum wage, separate from the COVID-focused reconciliation bill,” she said. “I will keep working with colleagues in both parties to ensure Americans can access good-paying jobs, quality education, and skills training to build more economically secure lives for themselves and their families.”

As for her gesture, Sinema — viewed as a moderate in her party — appeared to use it as a sop to the late Arizona Sen. John McCain, who, in July 2017, used a ‘thumbs down’ to oppose a Republican-led plan to repeal and replace Obamacare after the party had held dozens of meaningless votes during President Obama’s last term to tank the law.

Interestingly, unlike McCain, Sinema has often joined with her GOP Senate colleagues in voting to overturn Obamacare. 

“I’m proud to work across party lines to end this harmful tax and make health care more affordable for Arizonans,” she said in 2019. 

When McCain cast his ‘no’ vote, it outraged many Republicans, several of whom saw it as a swipe at then-President Donald Trump at the risk of losing the vote to repeal a law the party, collectively, had sought to do for years.

“He was horrible, what he did with repeal and replace,” Trump would tell Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo nearly two years later, and after McCain had passed away from brain cancer at 81.

“What he did to the Republican Party and to the nation and to sick people that could have had great health care was not good,” the then-president added.

Like McCain, though, Sinema, 44, has often bucked her own party, angering members as she did so. But with much of Arizona still dominated by conservatives and Republicans, her votes — as Pavlich noted — are more reflective of her constituents rather than purposeful rebukes of her party.

Nevertheless, with the upper chamber evenly divided 50-50, leaving Democrats in control only because Vice President Kamala Harris is the tie breaking vote, she and other Democrats from red states like Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia find themselves in unique positions of power, as party leaders must cater to them in order to get their support for their agenda.

Still, other liberals were critical of Sinema’s vote.

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Jon Dougherty

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