Chuck Schumer Allows Kyrsten Sinema to Keep Committee Assignments After She Dumps Democrat Party  

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema at the microphone smiling (Rod Lamkey/Pool via AP) // Inset: Sen. Chuck Schumer with pursed lips (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Rod Lamkey/Pool via AP / Inset: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) permitted Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) to keep her congressional committee assignments after she announced Friday she will leave the Democrat party and become an independent.

“Senator Sinema informed me of her decision to change her affiliation to Independent,” Schumer stated in a press release. “She asked me to keep her committee assignments and I agreed. Kyrsten is independent; that’s how she’s always been.”

Sinema sits on four Senate committees: Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; and Veterans Affairs.

Despite Sinema leaving the Democrat party, Schumer said he believes she is a “good” and “effective” senator and that her departure from the party will not detract from the Democrats’ ability to operate the chamber with majority control.

“I believe she’s a good and effective Senator and am looking forward to a productive session in the new Democratic majority Senate,” he said. “We will maintain our new majority on committees, exercise our subpoena power, and be able to clear nominees without discharge votes.”

Sinema told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Friday she is leaving the Democrat party because it “makes a lot of sense.”

“A growing number of Arizonans and people like me just don’t feel like we fit neatly into one party’s box or the other,” she continued. “And so, like many across the state and the nation, I’ve decided to leave that partisan process and really just focus on the work that I think matters to Arizona and to our country, which is solving problems and getting things done.”

When she was questioned about how her altered party affiliation would shift the balance of power, Sinema brushed off the question.

“I know you have to ask that question, Jake, but that’s kind of a D.C. thing to worry about,” she said.

Sinema’s departure from the Democrat party will make her the third senator to work with Democrats as an independent. She joins Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Angus King (I-ME).

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.

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