February 9, 2023

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre noted that Sinema has strongly supported major initiatives by the Biden administration, such as the infrastructure package, and said President Joe Biden hoped to keep her as an ally.

“We understand that her decision to register as an independent in Arizona does not change the Senate’s new Democratic majority control, and we have every reason to expect that we will continue to work successfully with her,” Jean-Pierre said in a statement. declaration. .

I have joined the growing numbers… who reject partisan politics by declaring my independence from Washington’s broken partisan system.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema announced she would be leaving the Democrats.

Other government officials expect her service to do little to change their interactions with her in the coming months. One person involved in shaping the White House’s approach to working with her, who spoke on condition of anonymity, characterized her as difficult and contrarian, but noted that she had ultimately supported the president in critical voices, leaving Biden and the Democrats with a successful legislative record to advance.

Her decision sparked a quick backlash in Arizona, where a group formed to launch a primary campaign against her said it would now focus on impeaching her in the general election.

“Today, Kyrsten Sinema told us what we’ve known for years: she’s not a Democrat and she’s just out on her own,” the Primary Sinema campaign said in a statement. In a way, Sinema only made our job easier by pulling out of a Democratic primary she knew she couldn’t win. Now we will beat her in the general election with a real Democrat.”

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Casting herself as a bipartisan dealmaker in the Senate, Sinema is often seen on the Republican side of the floor, talking to and lobbying Republicans with whom she has worked on various issues. Like Senator Joe Manchin, she has held back some key Democratic priorities, such as tax increases. She and Manchin this year ended Democratic efforts to weaken the filibuster and push through new voting rights legislation. The Democrats in Arizona symbolically condemned her after her filibuster vote.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema before her swearing-in ceremony with US Vice President Mike Pence in 2019.Credit:Reuters

Manchin, who was re-elected this week to the Democratic leadership of the Senate, has been touted more often as a potential party changer given his own re-election woes in his scarlet state, and Republicans have made it clear they would welcome him.

But Sinema has also been assiduously courted by Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, who has praised her for refusing to bow to the filibuster. She appeared with him at an event at the McConnell Center in Louisville, Kentucky, in September, where she drew criticism from Democrats who saw her align with the top pre-election Republican who would decide party control in the Senate.

Sinema is more aligned with Democrats on key social, cultural and environmental policies and was a key architect of the recent Senate agreement that paved the way for legislation to mandate federal recognition of same-sex marriages, which Congress this week authorized the opposition of most Republicans. She has been a reliable voice for the Biden administration’s judicial and executive nominees.

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Where she disagrees with the Democrats is more about fiscal and fiscal policy. She has blocked Democratic efforts to raise taxes on corporate America and Wall Street, accusing her of interfering with her wealthy donors.

Writing in The Arizona Republic, Sinema said she had “never fitted perfectly into either national party” and that the “loudest, most extreme voices continue to drive each party to the brink.”

“When politicians are more focused on denying the opposition party victory than improving Americans’ lives, the people who lose are ordinary Americans,” she added.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.