Arizona Dems Split on ‘Back to Work’ Budget Vote


Raúl_Grijalvaby Pamela Powers Hannley

On Wednesday, March 20, 2013, the US House of Representatives voted on a series of amendments to the Republican Majority Budget, penned by Rep. Paul Ryan. 

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) amendment, dubbed the Back to Work Budget, was one of yesterday's votes. It lost 84 to 327, with no Republicans voting for it (not surprising) and 102 Democrats voting against it. 

How did Arizona's Democratic Party representatives vote on an amemdment spearheaded by one of their own– Rep. Raul Grijalva? Not so good. Grijalva and Rep. Ed Pastor voted for the Back to Work Budget— which would create jobs, reduce the debt, and protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. 

Representatives Ann Kirkpatirck, Ron Barber, and Kirsten Sinema voted against the Back to Work Budget– despite letters and phone calls by members of the Arizona Chapter of the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA). Nationally, PDA hand delivered letters to 100 Congressional representatives and made 1000 phone calls. 

Frankly, I'm not surprised by Blue Dogs Kirkpatrick and Barber, but I am surprised and disappointed by Sinema. The three of them can expect to hear more from PDA.


  1. You are right – and that fact alone is painful to one who believes that the Progressive budget is more “realistic”, from the standpoint of economics! Sad, sad, sad.

  2. If you narrow your focus only to Kyrsten’s re-election fight, she cast a pragmatic vote. Nothing wrong with that, by itself. The problem is that there are a lot of Kyrsten Sinemas in Congress doing the exact same thing. The result: a lopsided rejection of a really decent legislative proposal, which allows the media to label Raul Grijalva and Keith Ellison as fringe players. The discourse becomes completely corrupted. The Ryan plan, which truly is radical, is considered a serious proposal, while the Grijalva plan is written off. We wind up “compromising” by agreeing to rip the social safety net instead of shredding it, and slow the concentration of wealth at the top instead of accelerating it.

  3. I’m not surprised or upset by her vote. She’s positioning herself as a centrist in a moderate district and feels she can’t really sign onto everything overtly labeled progressive. One way she might be encouraged to be more boldly progressive is if she heard from a lot of constituents who are not from the PDA or Dem activist crowd. Not to disparage us but staffers know who we are and Dem politicians are in the habit of tuning out their base (unlike Republicans who fear theirs). I’m not sure what the best way to get regular people to call her office would be – maybe running ads?

  4. Seriously, how can she vote against job creation, taxing billionaires, lowering the debt, and protecting Social Security? These are all popular causes with the vast majority of Americans. Her cowardice on this shocked me. Blue Dogs didn’t do well in 2010.

  5. Progressives: PLEASE don’t make perfection the enemy of the good. I’m sure the Back to Work budget was righteous – but politicians have to be pragmatists and look to the next election. Sinema has been awesome, but she will face an all-out assault in CD9 come 2014.