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Kentucky's Mitch McConnell to host Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema for bipartisanship lecture

Arizona Republic 9/24/2022 Morgan Watkins, Louisville Courier Journal

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat who has faced criticism within her party for sometimes helping Republicans stymie progressive legislation, will join Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at the University of Louisville on Monday morning to give a lecture on bipartisanship.

The 10 a.m. event — 7 a.m. Arizona time — is hosted by the McConnell Center, which Kentucky's longtime Republican leader founded over 30 years along with university officials. It isn't open to the public, but people can watch her speech live on YouTube.

Sinema and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin often have been thorns in the side of many of their fellow Democrats since their party won a razor-thin majority in the Senate in early 2021. That's largely because their votes have been crucial to determining the fate of some of Democrats' highest priority legislation — and sometimes they've withheld that needed support.

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Sinema and Manchin's steadfast refusal to get rid of the filibuster, a 60-vote threshold the Senate must meet to advance most bills, has had especially high consequences. It has allowed the McConnell-led Senate Republicans to block major Democratic proposals, such as a bill that would've made significant changes to federal elections and expanded access to voting.

Last year, McConnell said he admired the duo's "courage in defending the Senate as an institution."

It isn't unusual to see Sinema on the Senate floor chatting with McConnell, who voted for the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law she co-authored last year.

Lisa Murkowski, Rob Portman sitting in a chair talking on a cell phone: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (center), D-Ariz., joined from left by, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speak to reporters just after a vote to start work on a nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, at the Capitol in Washington, July 28, 2021. © J. Scott Applewhite/AP Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (center), D-Ariz., joined from left by, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speak to reporters just after a vote to start work on a nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, at the Capitol in Washington, July 28, 2021.

Sinema has stuck with her party on certain big votes, though, like the Inflation Reduction Act, which authorized a big, historic initiative to deal with climate change as well as steps to reduce prescription drug expenses for Medicare patients, among other things.

Sinema's lecture in Louisville is titled: "The Future of Political Discourse and the Importance of Bipartisanship."

The McConnell Center gives U of L scholarships to Kentucky students and hosts events like Monday's that have featured government officials of both parties.

Morgan Watkins is The Courier Journal's chief political reporter. Contact her at mwatkins@courierjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter: @morganwatkins26.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kentucky's Mitch McConnell to host Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema for bipartisanship lecture

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