Activists confronted Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., in a plea to support Democrats' $3.5 trillion budget bill.

 

The interaction took place at Arizona State University where Sinema is a lecturer, they followed Sinema into the bathroom filming the encounter on their phones after she left the classroom. The activists told Sinema that they got her elected, warning her they can vote her out of office if she fails to deliver on her promises.  They asked Sinema to support the bill that is geared to help working-class families with provisions such as a child tax credit, universal pre-K, paid leave, and expanding Medicare. The bill would also create a path to citizenship for undocumented migrants, many of them being Dreamers who are currently being protected by DACA.

 

 

 

 

Under Arizona law, it is illegal to film or photograph someone due to personal privacy rights.

Sinema swung back at the activists saying their behavior “was not a legitimate protest.

"It is unacceptable for activist organizations to instruct their members to jeopardize themselves by engaging in unlawful activities such as gaining entry to closed university buildings, disrupting learning environments, and filming students in a restroom," she said.

President Biden also gave his thoughts on the confrontation, as he condemned the activists' actions. “I don’t think they’re appropriate tactics, but it happens to everybody. The only people it doesn’t happen to are people who have Secret Service standing around them. So it’s part of the process," he said.

The activist group responded by saying they would not have confronted her if she held town halls to speak with the communities that got her elected. Sinema claimed she met with the group “several times” but the group responded by saying Sinema had ignored them and all the people who got her elected for years.

“She’s denied our requests, ignored our phone calls, and closed her office to her constituents. She hasn’t had a public event or town hall in years. No one wants to meet with their senator in the restroom. But it seems like there’s a price tag of several hundred thousand dollars to meet with her anywhere else,” said LUCHA communications manager Cesar Fierros said in an email addressed to The Hill.

Sinema’s actions have drawn ire from many progressives as she has taken $750,000 from the pharma lobby before voting against a bill that would have allowed Medicare to lower the cost of prescription drugs, which could have saved over $450 billion over a decade. Sinema has also held a fundraising event with five different lobbying groups opposed to the budget bill, one of them The National Association of Wholesale Distributors & Grocers PAC.  Guests would meet for 45 minutes at the event and write checks between $1,000 and $5,800 payable to Sinema for Arizona, according to the New York Times.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has also been reluctant to support the bill due to its price tag. The two senators could dictate whether or not Biden's agenda is signed into law. Biden said on Monday that he is still working with Manchin and Sinema to get on board with his ideas, saying “This is a process, we’ll get it done.”