In a video posted on Twitter, Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema announced that she will be registering as an independent and will be working with senators from both parties in Congress.
She stated that this decision reflects who she has always been and that Arizona residents do not "line up to do what we're told" but instead do what they believe is right for their state and country.
In an opinion piece for the Arizona Republic, Sinema wrote that "Americans are increasingly left behind by national parties' rigid partisanship" and that she hopes to work with senators from both parties to address this issue.
Sinema joins Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine as the only independent senators in Congress. Sinema did not mention whether she plans to run for re-election in 2024.
She informed Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and the White House of her decision.
Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema's decision to register as an Independent may have little practical impact on the Senate, as the Democratic Party has a 51-49 majority in the chamber following Senator Rafael Warnock's win in Georgia.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated that the decision does not change the Democrats' control of the Senate and that the White House expects to continue working with Sinema.
Although the White House described Sinema as a "key partner" in many of President Joe Biden's legislative successes, she has previously shown willingness to vote against the party line on a variety of issues. Her actions have sometimes angered local party officials in Arizona, and she was the last Democrat to hold out against Biden's $700bn climate and tax bill in August.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema's decision to register as an independent has drawn mixed reactions, as some of her actions in the past have angered Democratic Party officials in Arizona. In particular, her refusal to abandon the filibuster, a Senate rule requiring a 60% majority to pass certain legislation, infuriated some colleagues earlier this year.
Despite this, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that Sinema will be allowed to keep her Senate committee positions. "Kyrsten is independent; that's how she's always been,” said Schumer.