Arizona’s Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema vowed to constituents she would help to lower the cost of prescription drugs. “We need to make health care more affordable, lower prescription drug prices, and fix the problems in the system – not go back to letting insurance companies call all the shots,” she tweeted in 2018. The then-senatorial candidate seemed less enigmatic and ready to bring prescription drug costs under control; Until something usual happened in politics; money. Included in that original proposal was a plan to have Medicare negotiate the prices of prescription drugs with pharmaceutical companies. President Joe Biden was well on his way to a 3.5-billion-dollar package that would benefit children and the climate. Joe Manchin was blamed for sinking the ship, but Sinema punched holes in the life rafts.
Senator Sinema received 750 thousand dollars in donations from big pharma, and poof went the Biden plan. According to Politico, the newly flushed with cash Sinema reneged on her vow to lower drug costs. Although staying mum has become her tendency, Sinema stated, through spokesperson John LaBombard, “Given the size and scope of the proposal, while those discussions are ongoing, we are not offering detailed comment on any one proposed piece of the package.” The last time Sinema had this kind of attention-getting power, we were subjected to a polite curtsy from her on the Senate floor. In what is becoming a feature of her unconventional politicking Sinema revealed she would be a problem to her fellow Democrats when she displayed her tribute to John McCain and the Queen with a thumbs down and curtsy, voting against the 15-dollar minimum wage.
Somehow Ms. Sinema feels she is entitled to private deliberations on public matters and feels no need to explain her reasoning to the citizens of Arizona or the rest of the country. Now that Prime Minister Manchin has pledged his vote in support of the Inflation Reduction Act, we await the voice and vote of his Lady in Waiting. Sure, Joe Manchin is a Democrat representing a deep red state, and Kyrsten Sinema is in a purple state. Still, I was always under the impression that a representative government has an element of leadership. Sinema was elected on her progressive stances, which included climate change, healthcare, and taxes. Manchin, we had hoped, would eventually lead his constituents out of the mines and into a new world of innovation. Unfortunately, as with many politicians, they were overtaken with greed over the country.
The Democratic party is oh so close to some real and substantive policy changes: voting rights, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, minimum wage, free college, addressing climate change, banning semi-automatic rifles, and tuition loan forgiveness, to name a few. After working on a compromise to Build Back Better between Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer, the uncertainty of Sen. Sinema has frozen the collective lungs of the Democratic party and the country. Should Senator Sinema vote with the party she chose to represent in the Senate; I would bow in her honor.
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