WASHINGTON – What does a 50:50 Senate bring to President-elect Joe Biden?
Washington hardly had time to process the effects of democratic control afterwards two runoff elections in Georgia that delivers the Senate to Democrats. Hours after the races were decided, a crowd of zealots searched the U.S. Capitol, reshaping the national and political landscape.
The unexpected new balance of power, which gives the Democrats the least amount of control over Congress, has big ramifications for the president-elect – a simple affirmation of his cabinet most importantly – but the road ahead for its ambitious legislative agenda remains complicated and murky.
Republicans remain ready to block most of Biden’s proposals, just as they thwarted much of President Barack Obama’s efforts on Capitol Hill. However, the 50/50 control allows action on specific laws that cannot be filibustered and a dynamic for the popular parts of COVID-19 relief could easily bring an early aid law into the law.
What 50-50 really gets – and doesn’t get – Biden when he takes office:
WHAT BIDEN GETS
With the Democrats chairing the Senate committees and only needing a majority to get votes for nominations, Biden can now seal the affirmation of his cabinet and court decisions – possibly also for the Supreme Court. It also means controversial decisions like Neera teethBiden’s election as budget director can look forward to taking on her position. Republicans can slow down nominations, but not stop them.
Democrats also have the option of simple majority voting to pass specific budget-related laws, an often arcane process that allowed Obama to finalize his 2010 health bill and gave President Donald Trump’s GOP allies a failed chance to overturn Obamacare and to adopt a tax overhaul invoice. Biden could use this so-called budget vote process to pass more controversial elements of COVID-19 relief only with democratic votes, repeal some of Trump’s tax cuts or, for example, make federal health programs more generous.
SETTING THE AGENDA
Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer – He will become majority leader once the two new Senators from Georgia and the elected Vice President Kamala Harris are all sworn in – now has the opportunity to bring laws to the ground and force votes. This could, for example, enable the routing of direct COVID-19 aid payments of US $ 2,000 and other relief supplies, and spark debates on issues such as police reform, immigration and climate change. However, passing such laws would require Republican support, which gives the minority party tremendous influence.
WHAT IS OFFERED NOT RECEIVED
ELIMINATION OF THE FILIBUSTER
Prior to the November elections, the Democratic left had been increasing pressure to eliminate the filibuster, and Republicans accused the Democrats of grabbing the Supreme Court or giving statehood to Democratic strongholds like the District of Columbia. West Virginia moderate Democrat Joe Manchin says he will block any attempt to eliminate the filibuster, so party progressives may now waste their breath on the issue.
Uniform control of the government by one party almost always drives the two sides apart. Recent events – the hard-won passage of a $ 900 billion COVID-19 relief bill and a major overturning of Trump’s veto on the annual defense bill – have shown that the vanishing center of Congress can help boost the results on the Capitol Improve Hill. But issues like raising the debt ceiling immediately become partisan, and the political incentives for many Republicans heading into mid-term 2022 and the 2024 presidential election are to denigrate Biden and the Democrats who control Congress. Expect a short honeymoon to Biden.
PROGRESSIVE MESSAGING PRIORITIES
A 50:50 Democratic Senate and sheer control of the house give practically every single Democrat the chance to plaster the works. This means that unsurpassed ideas like “Medicare for All” and a Green New Deal will not be the focus of Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Over time, this could frustrate Liberals, leading them to make demands related to bills that can actually be passed, such as B. Infrastructure spending and budget reconciliation proposals.