A former senior aide to “centrist” Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., worked until recently as one of the top lobbyists for JPMorgan Chase, the largest U.S. bank and a leading opponent of President Biden’s proposed corporate tax increases — which Sinema also opposes.
Sinema has also received more than $920,000 from companies and industry groups leading the lobbying blitz against Biden’s proposal, according to an analysis from the progressive government watchdog group Accountable.US.
Sinema’s office said in a statement on Thursday that the senator has been clear for months that “she would not support a bill costing $3.5 trillion.”
“While we do not negotiate through the press — because Senator Sinema respects the integrity of those direct negotiations — she continues to engage directly in good-faith discussions with both President Biden and Senator [Chuck] Schumer to find common ground,” the statement said.
Sinema has stonewalled the media in recent weeks, saying little or nothing beyond bland press releases. But she has continued to raise money from business groups that oppose Biden’s bill. Accountable.US says campaign contributions from antagonistic corporate interests may explain why Sinema continues to oppose proposals that are overwhelmingly supported by voters both nationally and in Arizona.
Sinema’s opposition to Biden’s agenda drew a rebuke from the Arizona Democratic Party last week, which threatened to hold a vote of no confidence against her if she “continues to delay, disrupt, or votes to gut” Biden’s plan. Activists who helped elect her in 2018 as Arizona’s first Democratic senator in decade have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a potential primary challenger, as Salon first reported on Wednesday. At least two other groups have since launched similar efforts to fund a potential primary challenger as polls show Sinema’s favorability among Democratic voters lagging significantly behind fellow Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz.
“With the Biden Build Back Better plan poised to give millions of struggling families a chance to get ahead, there’s too much at stake for this process to get mucked up and watered down with typical Washington revolving door corporate influence and money,” Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US, said in a statement to Salon. “We hope Senator Sinema is ultimately guided by the overwhelming public sentiment in favor of corporations paying their fair share and investments that will build an economy for all, not just billion-dollar businesses.”