For the first time in two decades, both parties in the Senate have agreed to a power-sharing agreement given the current makeup of the 50-50 split.
According to Newsmax, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the rare agreement on Wednesday, which will allow both parties to resume normal committee business as both parties will have equal representation, though Democrats will have gavel power given that they have Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote.
The deal is similar to one set in 2001, which is the last time the Senate faced a 50-50 party split, though at that time Republicans had the slight edge, which at the time was Vice President Dick Cheney. Only two times before that was the Senate split, as it happened in 1881 and 1953.
Schumer, who seemed especially happy with the power-sharing agreement, wasted no time in laying out the Democratic agenda in the Senate, which appears to be the issue of climate change.
“I’ve already instructed the incoming Democrat chairs of all relevant committees to begin holding hearings on the climate crisis in preparation for enacting President Biden’s build back better agenda, which includes major climate legislation,” Schumer said.
Confirmation hearings under the agreement will only need a simple majority vote, but as long as the filibuster is still a valid tool, Republicans will still have plenty of influence on policy issues in the upper chamber. Republicans are already making clear that they will oppose a number of climate change issues.
As of this writing, the new power-sharing deal is not yet in effect, but is expected to be voted on and passed later on Wednesday, according to Schumer.
“The leadership of both parties have finalized the organizing resolution for the Senate,” Schumer said. “We will pass the resolution through the Senate today.”
Now that Democrats can take their chairmanship positions, a number of high-profile senators were selected for the coveted positions. Sen. Bernie Sanders will chair the Budget Committee, while Sen. Dick Durbin will chair the Judiciary Committee.
Moderate Sen. Joe Manchin will be the new Chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Sen. Gary Peters will chair the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
“I’m confident that our members are ready to hit the ground running on the most important issues that face our country. Senate Democrats are not going to waste any time taking on the biggest challenges facing our country and our planet,” Schumer added after the announcement.
While the term “power-sharing” sounds good on the surface, make no mistake — America is in for a rough couple of years as Democrat-led committees make preparations to push President Joe Biden’s agenda through Congress before Republicans have a chance to win back one or both chambers in 2022.
ARTICLE SOURCE: thefederalistpapers.org