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Senator Sinema’s move to Independent won’t impact Democrats’ control of the chamber, reps say

Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat of Arizona, speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee confirmation hearing for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) nominee Shalanda Young of US President Joe Biden, in Washington, DC, US, February 1, 2022.

Al-Draco | Reuters

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema announced her decision on Friday to quit the Democrats and register as an independent, but many members of Congress said the change is unlikely to affect Democrats’ tight control of the US Senate.

Democrats won a 51-49 majority in the midterm elections, and Sen. Raphael Warnock’s re-election on Tuesday in the U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia bolstered party hopes that Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin, DW .va., will have less control over crucial bills. . The pair have been wild cards for Democrats since the party won tight control of the Senate from Republicans in 2020.

Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, said on Sunday he believed Sinema was a “Democratic enterprise” that had “sabotaged extremely important legislation”, and he suspects his decision to switch parties is tied to his ambitions personal policies.

“I think it really has to do with his political aspirations for the future in Arizona, but for us, I don’t think much has changed in terms of how the US Senate works,” Sanders told “State of the Union” from CNN in an interview on Sunday.

In a tweet on Friday, Sinema said his decision to switch parties was a “natural extension” of his service. The 46-year-old is the first openly bisexual senator and she started her career as a Green Party activist focusing on LGBTQ rights. She moved to the Democratic Party in 2004 and was elected to the United States House in 2012.

“I know it’s really hard for a lot of people, especially in DC, but what’s important to me is not being attached to the partisanship that dominates politics today,” he said. she told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Thursday.

Montana Sen. Jon Tester said Sunday he was surprised Sinema made the switch, but it won’t change anything in the Senate.

“I think she’s Democrat or Republican, it really doesn’t matter,” the Democrat told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “The label doesn’t matter.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y. was briefed Thursday on Sinema’s plans to go independent, and in a statement Friday said Sinema had asked to retain his committee assignments. Retaining her postings, Sinema has signaled that she intends to continue caucusing with Democrats as an independent.

Sinema’s decision to switch parties would save her from having to face a left-wing primary, but she did not say whether she would seek a second term in the US Senate.


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