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Hey Porter

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Katie Porter — with an assist from the chairman of the Budget Committee — does a good job of breaking down the situation in Congress here.

Via Greg Sargent, who observes:

However the battle over President Biden’s agenda turns out, this ugly saga will accomplish something crucial: It will separate Democrats who take their role as public servants seriously from those who are operating with such epic levels of bad faith that they are essentially insulting the intelligence of their own constituents.

Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) just delivered a sharp dressing down to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) that neatly crystallizes this contrast. Many progressives are hammering Sinema, of course, but Porter’s broadside captures something essential about what we’re seeing from the senator, and by extension, about the crossroads that Democrats now face.

That essential point is this: Public servants should feel a basic obligation to level with the voters who granted them the privilege of being their representatives. While more may be happening in private talks than we know, all signs are that Sinema’s caginess is edging toward a level of deceptiveness that borders on betrayal of public duty.

Speaking on MSNBC, Porter lambasted Sinema for refusing to specify what she’ll accept in the multitrillion-dollar bill Democrats hope to pass through reconciliation. House progressives are threatening to vote down the smaller bipartisan infrastructure bill that already passed the Senate, to pressure centrists to negotiate the reconciliation bill in good faith.

I hate to bring out the heavy artillery, but at this point Sinema’s behavior is worse than Joe Lieberman’s during the ACA. Lieberman suddenly opposing a Medicare buy-in he had previously supported was grotesque donor service, but at least 1)he had a specific ask, and 2)once he got it he voted for the bill. Sinema is just engaging in performative Maverickyiness with no actual specific thing she wants to do. It’s deeply ridiculous, and if she doesn’t stop doing this the consequences will be dire indeed.

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