NewsUSAA Democratic senator leaves the party and makes it difficult for Biden to control the Senate

A Democratic senator leaves the party and makes it difficult for Biden to control the Senate

The president of the United States, Joe Biden, was having a pretty round week with the Democratic victory in the second round of the Senate in Georgia, the approval of the law to shield marriage between people of the same sex and the release of basketball player Brittney Griner in a prisoner exchange with Russia. This morning, however, he woke up to the news that the recently won 51-seat majority in the Senate will not come true in the new Congress, which is set up in January. Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema has announced that she is leaving the Democratic Party and that she is registering as an independent.

Sinema’s defection gives even more importance to the seat won in Georgia. In fact, Biden has stressed throughout the campaign the importance of strengthening the majority because he is aware that there were already two wayward senators in his group who made it difficult for him to carry out his projects: Sinema herself and Joe Manchin, senator from West Virginia. They were the last two votes that Biden managed to attract for his flagship project, the Inflation Reduction Act, and only in exchange for relevant concessions. In addition, they have already blocked other Democratic initiatives during the last legislature.

Sinema has explained her reasons in an article published in The Arizona Republic, in which he notes: “Like many Arizonans, I have never been a perfect fit for either national party. Becoming an independent will not change my job in the Senate; my service to Arizona remains the same.”

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The Democratic Party already has two other senators registered as independents: Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine. Both, however, belong to the Democratic parliamentary group and are considered two more senators from the party. Sinema has not clarified if he will be part of the group, although his words seem to imply otherwise. Yes, he has said that he will not join the Republican group.

The article is a proclamation of his centrist positions and against the division between the parties: “Some members of the party believe that they own this seat in the Senate. It is not like this. This Senate seat does not belong to Washington’s Democratic or Republican bosses. It doesn’t belong to one party or another, and it doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to Arizona, which is too special a place to be defined by extreme partisans and ideologues,” he writes.

Sinema was elected as a senator for the first time in 2018 and her seat is not renewed until the 2024 elections, where re-election will be difficult. In the last two years, she has been a dissenting note in the Senate, blocking some of the Democratic initiatives. Not being able to take their vote or Manchin’s for granted, several bills have run aground in the Senate despite the Democratic majority in it (in reality, a 50-50 tie broken by the vice president, Kamala Harris) and in the House of Representatives, the two chambers that make up Congress.

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Sinema and Manchin, for example, prevented forcing the approval of a law to strengthen the right to vote. He refused to support that it be processed without reaching the majority of 60 senators that is usually required to overcome the so-called filibusterism, the blocking of initiatives before they are put to a vote. That earned Sinema criticism from the leaders of the Democratic Party in Arizona.

After the elections on November 8, the Democrats have lost control of the House of Representatives, which passes into the hands of the Republican Party in January with a majority of 222 to 213 seats. In the Senate, Biden’s party had theoretically achieved the 51st seat, thanks to winning a new seat in Pennsylvania and retaining all the others that were at stake, including Georgia in the second round.

an important seat

The additional seat was important to achieve a majority in the Senate committees and expedite the ratification of appointments, but also to have a margin of maneuver in the event that one of the two wayward senators did not align with the party’s positions. Sinema’s decision loses some significance for two reasons. First, because it was no longer a vote to count on from the start. Second, because by passing the House of Representatives to be under Republican control, the pacts between the two parties to push laws forward become essential in any case.

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In her article, she is in favor of the collaboration between the Democratic and Republican Parties and maintains that ordinary Americans are increasingly relegated by the rigid partisanship of both. “The pressures in both parties push leaders to the edges, allowing the loudest and most extreme voices to determine the priorities of their respective parties and hoping that the rest of us fall into line,” she says.

“In catering to extremes, neither party has shown much tolerance for diversity of thought,” he continues. “Vengeance against the opposition party has replaced thoughtful legislation. Americans are being told that we only have two choices – Democrats or Republicans – and that we must wholesale to the political views espoused by the parties, views that have been leaning more and more to the extremes.” “Most Arizonans believe this is a bogus option, and when I ran for office (…) I promised Arizonans something different. I vowed to be independent and work with anyone to achieve lasting results. I vowed not to demonize people I disagree with, insult them, or get distracted by political dramas,” he adds.

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