Sinema to Keep Committee Assignments After Leaving Democratic Party: Schumer

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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.

By Jack Phillips

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