The White House on Friday signaled optimism after Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) announced her decision to leave the Democrat party and register as an Independent.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre described Sinema as a “key partner” in a statement from the White House, pointing to previous bills she worked with President Joe Biden to get passed.
Jean-Pierre also noted that Sinema’s decision to register as an Independent would not affect Democrat control of the Senate.
“[W]e have every reason to expect that we will continue to work successfully with her,” the press secretary concluded.
Sinema surprised Democrats Friday with the announcement that she was leaving the Democrat party.
“I know some people might be a little bit surprised by this, but, actually, I think it makes a lot of sense,” she said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper. “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.”
Biden has worked with Sinema, despite expressing frustration that every Democrat senator essentially had the power of a president by making demands to meet the majority needed to pass important legislation.
“When you have 50 senators, everyone is a President. Everyone can make a judgment on what they want to do or not do and — and they can block whatever is coming up,” Biden said last week at a fundraiser in Massachusetts.
Although Sinema did not appear with Biden in Arizona on Tuesday as he promoted subsidized semiconductor chip manufacturing, the president praised her as “a tremendous advocate for the people of Arizona and a leader in so many issues important to this state” during his remarks.