Kyrsten Sinema Just Blew Up the Senate

( )- Senator Krysten Sinema decided to leave the Democratic Party and become an Independent, causing some potential issues for the Democratic-controlled Senate, according to Newsweek.

Democrats solidified their control of the upper chamber 51-49 after Senator Raphael Warnock won his re-election against Trump-backed Herschel Walker in the Georgia runoff election. Warnock secured his full term after winning a special election for a Georgia seat in January 2021.

But now that Sinema switched her political affiliation, outstanding questions remain for Democrats. Sinema told Politico in an interview that she will not caucus with Republicans in the upcoming Senate and says that she intends to keep her Democratic committee assignments, suggesting that she will caucus with Democrats.

The Senate will now see three Independents that caucus with Democrats, including Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Angus King of Maine, and now Sinema of Arizona.

Sinema said that she does not expect anything to change about the Senate structure but added that what her switch means for the mechanics is “a question for Chuck Schumer…I intend to show up to work, do the same work that I always do. I just intend to show up to work as an Independent.”

Over the last two years, West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin often saw the balance of power rely on him as he was responsible for whether legislation went forward or not. Manchin is seen as a moderate and when Warnock secured the majority for Democrats, that power seemed to slip away.

Before the midterm elections, Manchin reportedly said that he was “praying to God it’s not 50-50 again.”

“I’d like for Democrats to be 51-49. But, whatever happens, I hope it’s not a 50-50,” the senator told NBC News in September.

Sinema and Manchin were both key votes in Biden’s $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act, but Manchin halted the Build Back Better agenda earlier in the year. As an Independent, Sinema might also be influential in the next Senate, along with Manchin. If the Senate ties 50-50 on legislation, it remains to be seen who Sinema will side with.