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Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., commented today on Senator Jefford's switch from Republican to Independent status.

Enzi's complete comments follow.

Some would consider his decision to be like a late frost during the GOP spring, but summer is still ahead of us. We have a strong leader residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and a majority in the House. The American taxpayer has have been overcharged and they should get some of their money back. Our local schools and communities need to have the flexibility to do what is best for the education of their children. We will remain dedicated to these and other principles.

The education bill would have been the first education bill Republicans could write in 30 years. I was looking forward to the return of local control once more. I wanted local control and less paperwork, but with this shift the new majority will push for more decisions to be made in Washington.

Before Sen. Jeffords decided to quit the party, he voted against legislation that our caucus thought was good for the country. We still have the tools to carry our agenda through. We'll just have to work a little harder.

It's disappointing that it will be harder to control the flow of legislation in the Senate and will lose committee chairmanships and subcommittee chairmanships, but I've formed close working relationships with my Democratic colleagues and am confident I can continue advancing legislation that is good for Wyoming and the country.

Sen. Jeffords did what he thought was best for his constituents. As an elected official representing so many different souls, I can tell you that we do a lot of searching for the right answers to tough questions. This job isn't easy. I'm sure he thought long and hard and considered all of his options before making this decision.

So far this year I have been answering questions about working in a 50-50 Senate. I have answered that it's similar to a 55-45 Senate because 60 votes are needed to overcome a filibuster. With this shift it still takes 60 votes. I will continue to rely on the work ethic that helped me overcome the 60-vote margin in the past.