The Senate is expected to vote on the final deal later Wednesday that would officially transfer the leadership gavels for Senate committees from Republicans to Democrats. The Senate is split evenly, 50-50, but Democrats hold the tie-breaking advantage with Vice President Kamala Harris able to cast the 51st vote.
“The leadership of both parties have finalized the organizing resolution for the Senate,” Schumer, D-N.Y., said. “We will pass the resolution through the Senate today.”
Schumer made it clear he’s prioritized climate change for Democrats’ turn at power for the next two years.
“I’ve already instructed the incoming Democratic chairs of all relevant committees to begin holding hearings on the climate crisis in preparation for enacting President Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ agenda,” Schumer said of Biden’s green jobs plan.
Schumer already announced the new Democratic committee chairs, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., as chair of the Budget Committee; Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., as Chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee; Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., as leader of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill, as the head of the Judiciary Committee.
“I’m confident that our members are ready to hit the ground running on the most important issues that face our country,” Schumer said. “Senate Democrats are not going to waste any time taking on the biggest challenges facing our country and our planet.”
The new power-sharing agreement is modeled after the organizing resolution from 2001 — the last time there was a 50/50 Senate. There have been hiccups along the way in striking a deal because McConnell wanted written assurances from Schumer that Democrats would not due away with the legislative filibuster.
McConnell retracted his demand after two Democratic senators — Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema — said they would not vote to get rid of the provision that requires 60 votes for most major legislation to advance.
“Basic arithmetic now ensures that there are not enough votes to change the rule,” McConnell said last week.