Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) struck a power-sharing deal Wednesday that prevented Democrats from formally taking control over the chamber’s committees.
I am happy to report this morning that the leadership of both parties have finalized the organizing resolution for the Senate. We will pass the resolution through the Senate today, which means that committees can promptly set up and get to work with Democrats holding the gavels.
Schumer said Democrats “are ready to hit the ground running on the most important issues that face our country” and “are not going to waste any time.”
Senate Democrats took control of the Senate after Sens. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Raphael Warnock (D-GA) won their respective Georgia runoffs in January; however, the victories led to a 50-50 member split in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tiebreaking vote. Given the split Senate, McConnell and Schumer had to a strike a deal to determine how they would share power, such as how to determine committee budgets for the majority and minority.
Schumer and McConnell strove to model the power-sharing agreement based on the 2001 agreement, which was the last time the Senate was divided on a 50-50 basis.
The negotiations between Senate Republican and Democrat leadership took weeks before they could agree on the details.
McConnell initially wanted assurance from Schumer they would not move to drop the filibuster before agreeing to the power-sharing deal. However, he dropped the demand after Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) said they would not vote to drop the filibuster.
The delayed negotiations also led to delays in confirming some of President Joe Biden’s cabinet members. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, rejected Democrat calls to hold a confirmation hearing for attorney general nominee Merrick Garland on February 8 because Graham said that the Senate should focus on the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.