Sinema To Keep Committee Assignments After Leaving Democratic Party: Schumer
Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who announced she’s leaving the Democratic Party, would keep her committee assignments.
“She asked me to keep her committee assignments and I agreed,” Schumer said in a statement to news outlets on Friday. With Sinema as an independent, Democrats will hold majorities on committees and will have more subpoena power following Sen. Raphael Warnock’s (D-Ga.) reelection earlier this week.
“We will maintain our new majority on committees, exercise our subpoena power, and be able to clear nominees without discharge votes,” he proclaimed. Schumer did not provide more details.
Earlier on Friday, Sinema made the announcement because “Americans are increasingly left behind by national parties’ rigid partisanship, which has hardened in recent years,” according to an opinion article she wrote for AZCentral. “Pressures in both parties pull leaders to the edges, allowing the loudest, most extreme voices to determine their respective parties’ priorities and expecting the rest of us to fall in line.”
Sinema said she would not caucus with the Republican Party, according to an interview Politico published on Friday. If that holds, Democrats could still maintain greater governing control in the closely divided chamber, blunting the impact of her defection.
“I’ve never fit neatly into any party box. I’ve never really tried. I don’t want to,” she told CNN. “Removing myself from the partisan structure–not only is it true to who I am and how I operate, I also think it’ll provide a place of belonging for many folks across the state and the country, who also are tired of the partisanship.”
Sinema’s surprise announcement came as the future of Democratic President Joe Biden’s agenda in the second half of his term was already clouded by Republicans set to take control of the House of Representatives on Jan. 3.
Ahead of the new Congress, House Republicans already have put Biden on notice they will seek deep domestic spending cuts and tougher border security steps. It will be up to Senate Democrats to foil some Republican initiatives.
Two other independents, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Angus King (I-Maine), caucus with Democrats. But in interviews and in her opinion article, Sinema declined to explicitly say if she would join them.
“When I come to work each day, it’ll be the same,” Sinema told CNN. “I’m going to still come to work and hopefully serve on the same committees I’ve been serving on and continue to work well with my colleagues at both political parties.”
It’s not clear if Sinema will seek reelection in 2024. Some Democrats, including Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), have already lined up to possibly challenge her.
“Unfortunately, Senator Sinema is once again putting her own interests ahead of getting things done for Arizonans,” Gallego said in a statement on Friday.
Over the past two years, Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) have repeatedly withheld needed votes for legislation sought by Biden and Schumer. At one point, left-wing immigration activists followed Sinema into a college bathroom and demanded she support a $3.5 trillion spending bill last year.
Almost a year ago, Sinema and Manchin killed an attempt by other Senate Democrats to temporarily waive the “filibuster” rule, which requires a supermajority of 60 votes for most legislation to advance toward Senate passage.
The Epoch Times has contacted the office of Manchin, who has not publicly commented on Sinema’s departure from the Democratic Party, for comment. Manchin, whose state heavily voted in favor of former President Donald Trump in 2020, often downplays rumors that he’s leaving the Democratic Party.
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Sun, 12/11/2022 – 12:30