Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on January 26, 2021.
Al Drago | Reuters
The Senate gave control of the committees to the Democrats on Wednesday, two weeks after the party took control of the Chamber.
The Senate passed what is known as an organizational resolution that defines how power should be divided in a 50:50 split in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., and Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Argued for weeks over the structure of Senate rules, leaving Republicans technically in control of the committees that decide when to join Nominations and laws should proceed.
Schumer announced a power sharing deal on Wednesday. Approval means “committees can set up immediately and work with Democrats who hold the trips,” Schumer said.
Republicans worked with Democrats to approve several President Joe Biden candidates while they were still in power on the committee. The Senate on Tuesday approved Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and gave Biden six chamber-approved cabinet members.
Even so, GOP control threatened to delay the approval of at least one of Biden’s nominees. Senior Republican and Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham from South Carolina and Dick Durbin from Illinois, disagreed on when a hearing to confirm the candidate for Attorney General Merrick Garland should take place.
McConnell had asked for assurance that the Democrats would not scrap the filibuster, which would allow laws to be passed by majority vote. The disagreement became contentious when Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona said they would not vote to get rid of the tool.
The heads of state and government modeled the deal after an agreement dating back to 2001, when the Senate was last split between 50 and 50. Each party held an even number of committee seats, but the majority had the opportunity to break ties.
The transfer of power comes as the Democrats attempt to approve a $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package to help boost the health system and economy. They have started the budget vote process which enables them to pass a bill with only Democratic votes in the Senate.
A budget resolution that the Chamber wants to pass this week instructs committee chairs to work out provisions in the bailout package. Schumer and the incoming committee chairs met with Biden on Wednesday about pandemic relief.
The new chairmen of the Senate Committee include:
- Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio on the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee
- Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on the Budget Committee
- Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon on the Finance Committee
- Washington Senator Patty Murray on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
- Senator Maria Cantwell from Washington on the Commerce Committee
- Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee
- Illinois Senator Dick Durbin on the Justice Committee
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