Democratic senator Kyrsten Sinema was absent for Friday’s historic vote on a proposed Capitol riot investigation, and she still hasn’t said why.
After Republicans blocked a bill to establish a commission investigating the 6 January Capitol attack, Democrats directed most of their anger at the 35 GOP senators who voted against it. But there were also two Democrats who didn’t even show up for the vote: Senator Patty Murray, and Ms Sinema.
“She will be entering into the Congressional record that she would’ve voted yes,” the Arizona senator’s spokesperson, Hannah Hurley, told The Arizona Republic.
Although a majority of the Senate – 54 members, including six Republicans – voted for the bill, it failed to garner the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. In her public statements, Ms Sinema had both supported the bill and opposed removing or reforming the filibuster.
“We implore our Senate Republican colleagues to work with us to find a path forward on a commission to examine the events of January 6th,” Ms Sinema had said in a 25 May statement with another centrist Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin.
Mr Manchin opposes changing the filibuster as well. When CNN asked him if he’d be willing to use the “nuclear option” of filibuster reform, the senator replied, “No, I can’t take the fallout.”
Mr Manchin was present for the Capitol riot commission vote, and voted yes.
In addition to the two absent Democrats, nine Republican senators missed the vote as well. According to The Arizona Republic, Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama was seen on a plane leaving Washington the day before the vote.
Some on the left have wondered aloud how Ms Sinema explains her absence.
“Does anyone know why @kyrstensinema skipped the vote on the Jan 6th commission and bailed on her much-hyped push to bring in the magical 10 R votes to break a filibuster?” progressive activist Kai Newkirk tweeted, referring to the ten Republican votes that would have been needed to pass the bill.
Ms Sinema’s office has not yet responded to The Independent’s request for comment.