Nearly a dozen senators were missing on Friday when Congress’ upper chamber held a vote on whether to establish a purportedly independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 — and key Democrat swing vote Krysten Sinema was among those MIA.
According to Fox News, Sinema, a moderate Democrat from Arizona, was joined by fellow Democrat Sen. Patty Murray (WA) in skipping out on the vote, much to the chagrin of fellow Dems.
Republicans who missed the vote reportedly included Sens. Marsha Blackburn (TN), Roy Blunt (MO), Mike Braun (IN), Richard Burr (NC), James Inhofe (OK), James Risch (ID), Mike Rounds (SD), Richard Shelby (AL), and Pat Toomey (PN).
“A coward’s coward”
According to Fox, most lawmakers who were missing for the key vote Friday already had plans to travel for Memorial Day weekend that they said couldn’t be altered. The vote on the measure was originally slated for Thursday, but was pushed back at the last minute.
Among those members was Murray, who said she had to fly home Friday for a “personal family matter.”
Others — including Sinema — didn’t provide a reason for their absence when pressed by Fox News. The Arizona senator’s choice to skip the vote prompted swift backlash from progressives on social media, Fox noted.
Kyrsten Sinema is a coward’s coward. https://t.co/7Gr4W8Euy8
— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) May 28, 2021
“Purely political exercise”
In the end, however, it’s unlikely the 11 senators who skipped out would have changed the outcome of the vote. According to CBS News, the measure to establish a Jan. 6 commission failed 54–35. A minimum of 60 votes was needed for the legislation to pass.
Republican opponents of the bill had said they wanted to look to the future of the country rather than dwell on misdeeds of the past with a review that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said would be a “purely political exercise.”
All Democrats present reportedly voted in favor of creating the commission, and six Republicans broke party lines to join them: Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Rob Portman of Ohio.
According to CBS, GOP Sen. Toomey said he also would have voted to pass the measure — but it still wouldn’t have been enough to overcome the Senate filibuster, even if Sinema and Murray had been there, too.
With that, it seems the Democrats can count this one as another loss.