Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority leader Mitch McConnell have reached a deal on an organizing resolution for running an evenly divided Senate, two weeks after Democrats took control of the upper chamber.
“I am happy to report that the leadership of both parties have finalized the organizing resolution for the Senate,” Schumer said. “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.”
Even though Democrats have the majority, Republicans controlled the committees and could delay the confirmation of President Biden’s cabinet nominees, because the Senate did not pass an organizing resolution for this Congress.
Republicans threatened to delay the approval of President Biden’s nominee to serve as attorney general Merrick Garland. Durbin asked then Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham to scheduled a confirmation hearing for Garland on Feb. 8. Graham refused, citing Trump’s impeachment trial.
Incoming Senate committee chairs will include:
- Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee
- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) Budget Committee
- Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) Finance Committee
- Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wa.) Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
- Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wa.) Commerce Committee
- Sen. Joe Manchin (D. W Va.) Energy and Natural Resources Committee
- Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill) Judiciary Committee
The deal is expected to be similar to the one reached in 2001, the last time the Senate was split 50-50. Each party held an even number of committee seats, but the majority had the ability to break ties.
This comes after the Senate has been stuck in limbo since inauguration due to McConnell’s seeking reassurance from Democrats about the fate of the Senate filibuster. McConnell finally relented when two moderate Democrats Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz) and Joe Manchin (D-W. Va) said they do not support scrapping the filibuster which would allow legislation to pass with a simple majority vote.