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Sinema doubles down on not changing Senate's filibuster rules

In a speech on the Senate floor Thursday, Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema committed her support to protect the 60-vote rule.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Editor's Note: The video above is from an earlier broadcast.

Despite receiving pressure from members of her own political party, Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema said Thursday she's not interested in changing the Senate's filibuster rules. 

In a speech on the Senate floor, the Democratic senator said the Senate's 60-vote majority rule was a "critical" tool in protecting American democracy. 

"I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country," Sinema said Thursday. 

Sinema has been criticized by other Democrats for not supporting efforts to eliminate the 60-vote rule in order to pass legislation that would strengthen voting rights. 

U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., called Sinema out by name during a speech he delivered Thursday morning regarding the legislation. Civil rights activists are planning to meet in Phoenix this weekend to call out senators who have not committed to eliminating the filibuster. 

Sinema said she supports the voting rights bills and believes they're needed to improve civic engagement. 

"These bills help treat the symptom of the disease but they do not fully address the disease itself," the senator said. 

But she indicated she's not willing to change the Senate's voting rules in order to pass them. 

President Joe Biden is set to meet privately with Senate Democrats at the Capitol, a visit intended to deliver a jolt to the party’s long-stalled voting and elections legislation.

Sinema said both parties need to find common ground and work together to pass legislation, rather than work on partisan initiatives. 

The elimination of the filibuster won't guarantee that demagogues will not get elected to office, she added. 

"Some who undermine the principles of democracy have already been elected," Sinema said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is using Senate procedural rules to bypass a filibuster and force the legislation to the floor for a debate. But the Democrats still lack the support within their own party to overhaul the rules and pass the bill with a simple majority.

In her speech, Sinema said she will try to "build bridges" with unlikely allies in order to achieve results. 

"Some have given up on the goal of easing our divisions and uniting Americans. I have not," Sinema said.

RELATED: Biden prods Senate, but Sinema blunts voting bill's chances

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