Democrats took management of the Senate on Wednesday afternoon, giving the get together management of the White Home and each chambers of Congress. Vice President Kamala Harris, who was sworn in in the course of the inauguration ceremony Wednesday, administered the oath of workplace for Senators-elect Jon Ossoff, Alex Padilla and Raphael Warnock on Wednesday.
Ossoff and Warnock gained their runoff elections in Georgia earlier this month, and Padilla was appointed by California Governor Gavin Newsom to interchange Harris within the Senate. This was Harris’ first time within the Senate chamber since she was sworn in, and he or she laughed after asserting she could be administering the oath to her successor. Harris was given a standing ovation when she entered the room.
With Ossoff, Padilla and Warnock seated, Democrats maintain the narrowest attainable majority within the Senate. The stability can be 50 Democrats to 50 Republicans, with Harris breaking any tie. After the three new senators had been sworn in, Senator Patrick Leahy was elected president professional tempore of the Senate. The president professional tempore is the longest serving senator within the majority get together, and may preside over the Senate within the absence of the vp.
New Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer mentioned in remarks on the Senate ground on Wednesday that lawmakers would get to work on implementing the “prolonged agenda” set by President Biden, reminiscent of addressing the coronavirus pandemic.
“At this time, the menace to our democracy from the presidency itself has ended, however the challenges we face as a nation stay,” Schumer mentioned. He added that this might be a “busy and consequential interval for the USA Senate.”
Schumer mentioned that the Senate would work otherwise beneath a Democratic majority, implicitly drawing a distinction with Minority Chief Mitch McConnell, who as majority chief blocked a number of payments handed within the Home from shifting ahead within the Senate.
“This Senate will legislate. It is going to be lively, responsive, energetic and daring,” Schumer mentioned. He reached out to his Republican colleagues, saying that he would purpose to legislate on a bipartisan foundation when attainable, and that “the Senate works finest after we work collectively.”
Nevertheless, in his first speech as minority chief, McConnell indicated that he didn’t consider Democrats had a mandate, given their slender majority within the Senate.
“Our nation deserves each side and each events to seek out widespread floor for the widespread good the place we are able to,” McConnell mentioned.
Schumer and McConnell have mentioned an association primarily based on the power-sharing deal carried out in 2001, the final time there was a 50-50 cut up within the Senate. Vice President Dick Cheney was in workplace then, giving Republicans the slender majority.
Schumer and McConnell met on Tuesday afternoon, and Schumer, in keeping with a spokesperson, “expressed that the fairest, most cheap and best path ahead is to undertake the 2001 bipartisan settlement with out extraneous adjustments from both facet.” Beneath the organizing decision of 2001, the power-sharing association would offer each events with equal illustration on committees, and arrange a course of for breaking ties in committees that might give a slim benefit to Democrats.
The Republican chief warned Schumer towards eliminating the filibuster throughout their assembly on Tuesday, in keeping with a McConnell spokesperson.
“Chief McConnell expressed his long-held view that the essential, longstanding, and bipartisan Senate guidelines regarding the legislative filibuster stay intact, particularly in the course of the energy share for the following two years. Discussions on all facets of the power-sharing settlement will proceed over the following a number of days,” mentioned the spokesperson.
As a result of most laws requires 60 votes to finish debate, Democrats will want assist from at the very least 10 Republicans to maneuver ahead on most payments. Democrats may have such a slender majority within the Senate that it might be tough for Congress to cross a few of Mr. Biden’s legislative priorities.
Schumer mentioned Tuesday that passing a complete authorities and ethics reform invoicefor the brand new Senate. A model of the invoice was handed within the Home two years in the past, however McConnell blocked it from having a vote on the Senate ground whereas he was majority chief.
If Schumer feels he’s unable to cross this and different measures, he might decide to invoke the procedural maneuver referred to as the “nuclear possibility” and. Doing so would additionally permit the Senate to carry party-line votes on points essential to Democrats, reminiscent of making Washington, D.C., a state.
The filibuster has already been eradicated for all judicial and cupboard nominations, so Mr. Biden’s nominees might be confirmed, even with none Republican assist. Mr. Biden has referred to as for a return to bipartisanship in governing as soon as he returns to workplace, however it’s unclear whether or not his hopes will face up to the check of the polarized actuality of Congress.
One among Mr. Biden’s high legislative priorities is the passage of a. He want to see it handed with bipartisan assist, but when he can not attain a take care of Senate Republicans, the package deal might nonetheless cross beneath reconciliation, a course of typically used for spending measures that additionally solely requires a easy majority for passage.
Along with Mr. Biden’s legislative priorities and the, the Senate may even undertake an impeachment trial within the coming weeks. The Home voted to question Mr. Trump earlier this month on the cost of inciting rebel, after a pro-Trump mob assaulted the Capitol on January 6. Despite the fact that Mr. Trump has left workplace, the impeachment trial remains to be anticipated to happen.