Our U.S. Senator, Kyrsten Sinema, made headlines with her grand show of voting No on an addition to the stimulus bill to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour. Supporters and other Democrats expressed strong disdain at her. Who could imagine the spiritual successor to John “Maverick” McCain would actually vote her conscience, rather than strict party lines? Or are only Republicans expected to betray party leadership?
But that’s not important. What’s more interesting is Sinema’s reason for voting No. According to her, a minimum wage increase should be a separate, completely independent piece of legislation. It shouldn’t get tied up in a stimulus package already bloated beyond its purview.
“Creep” is a real thing; it describes adding items to the scope of a project little by little, to the point that the original goal is no longer achievable. “Mission creep” is arguably the most common variation of this term, where a simple one-task mission balloons into a laborious ordeal. “Legislative creep” should become runner-up.
Of course, this decision didn’t sit well with the social electorate. Her explanation got ratio’d hard on Twitter. I admit her apparently casual dress code and rather flippant curtsy in the Senate chamber was bizarre at best, emanating strong “Back To Brunch” energy. But it didn’t matter that she had a reason for her vote. She was the bad guy of the day, the sacrificial lamb of the news cycle. Inquisitors judged in 280 characters and found her deeply guilty.
As a result of her opposition, along with seven other Democrats and all Republicans, the inclusion didn’t pass. In her own little way, she left her mark. She made a difference. She obviously stood out from the pack.
As for me, I’m torn. For on the one hand, every day Congress fails to get anything passed is a good day. The more consistent DC is, the more the chaos grinds against itself, the less that people have to worry about changing rules and regulations or artificial fluctuations to the market, and the more that people can rely on themselves and their local communities.
On the other hand, if Senator Sinema’s point were taken seriously, and legislation were relegated to single issues, bills could pass at lightning speed. Imagine how quickly Congressional business could get done if legislation limited itself to a single page. No loopholes. No pork. No creep. No special interest groups tagging their pet agenda onto an unrelated item. Just Yea and go, or Nay and move on.
In that case, thank God Congress members are too selfish to pass any single-issue bills.
Alek Miller is a Morenci resident.