The Democratic Party will take control of Congress for the first time in a decade after Democrats, the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, won the second round of the Senate in Georgia.
But now Georgia gives President-elect Joe Biden the power to push through Cabinet nominations without Republican support and potentially enact radical liberal legislation.
A new debate over Biden’s agenda is already beginning following Warnock’s defeat of Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler on Tuesday, making him the first black senator elected in Georgia.
Ossoff, 33, will be the state’s first Jewish senator, and the Senate will be split 50-50, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris breaking tied votes.
After the Georgia elections, progressives are already advocating for the Senate to “go nuclear” and remove obstructionism, which requires a majority of legislation to get 60 votes to move forward, in order to pass a more ambitious agenda.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York dodged a question Wednesday about whether his caucus will lower the threshold to a simple majority of votes, saying he is united in the desire for “big and bold change” and that ” I would discuss the best ways to achieve this. ” . “
He said that “one of the first” bills he would like to pass as the Senate Majority Leader would provide $ 2,000 stimulus checks to help Americans suffering from the coronavirus pandemic, which the current Senate Majority Leader , Mitch McConnell, recently blocked in spite of President Donald. Trump’s Support for Enhanced Aid.
Democratic senators, who have been in the minority for six years, are now evaluating how to handle their gavels on various committees to address the economic and health crises.
“Georgia voters delivered a resounding message yesterday: They want action on the crises we face and they want it now,” Biden said in a statement.
“On COVID-19, on financial aid, on the climate, on racial justice, on the right to vote and much more.”
If he leads the Senate, Schumer would have a tiny margin of error to balance the priorities of the left and the politically vulnerable.
Democrats recognized the looming intraparty struggle. Maine Independent Senator Angus King, who is part of the Democrats, told CNN that he is “very reluctant” to remove obstructionism, but hopes to change the rules to discourage its “abuse.”
Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, a moderate facing a 2024 election in his red state, said Wednesday that he hoped the filibuster would continue to encourage bipartisanship.
“Bipartisan legislation tends to stand the test of time,” Tester said.
But the left wants Schumer to ditch him so House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, and the Senate can pass his long-awaited wish list. Massachusetts Democratic Representative
Ayanna Pressley tweeted Wednesday that “the movement” to end cash bail, abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement and support the lives of blacks “organized to fulfill” Congress and the White House.
“It is time we delivered for them,” he said.
A Democratic-led Senate could also confirm Biden’s nominees without Republican support, allowing the new administration to be bolder in its cabinet picks and begin reviewing massive gains from the Conservatives in the judicial bench. for the past four years.
Mr. Biden reportedly plans to elect Federal Judge Merrick Garland as attorney general, creating a vacancy on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
If McConnell were in charge of the Senate, the Biden administration could have gone with someone like former Alabama Democratic Senator Doug Jones to avoid the Kentucky Republican’s influence on that critical judicial vacancy.
“Obviously with Democratic control [of the Senate], Joe Biden’s ability to advance the nominations will be easier, “said Schumer.
While a divisive debate emerged among Democrats about how far to go, they spent Wednesday celebrating their quick turnaround after being out of power for so long.
“I think we’re going to do great things,” said Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown.
“I think the overwhelming number of Democrats are pointing in the same direction on all of this. Some faster than others, but all in the same direction.”