“Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Wednesday that he and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had finalized a power-sharing agreement, breaking a stalemate after weeks of negotiations.
Why it matters: The agreement will allow Senate Democrats to take control of committees, which play a pivotal role in crafting legislation and holding hearings. The Senate will formally pass the organizing resolution later on Wednesday. [ANCOR note: this will also in theory unblock the nomination of Xavier Becerra for Secretary of Health and Human Services. His nomination had been stalled because of the power-sharing dispute.]
Between the lines: Negotiations over the organizing resolution had been stalled for weeks, in part because McConnell wanted to include language that would commit Democrats to preserving the legislative filibuster.
McConnell dropped the demand last week after centrist Democrats Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) privately signaled that they would not support eliminating the 60-vote threshold in order to pass major legislation, which progressives have pushed for.
While the Senate is technically split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, Vice President Kamala Harris would serve as the tie-breaker in a floor vote.
What to watch: Schumer said on the Senate floor that he had instructed incoming Democratic chairs of ‘all relevant committees’ to begin holding hearings on the climate crisis, which will be a priority in President Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ agenda.”
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