OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are reportedly working on a Senate “power-sharing” deal that would allow Democrats to move forward with President-elect Joe Biden’s agenda but preserve certain key elements of the Senate rules, potentially including the filibuster.
When the Senate reconvenes on Wednesday, it will be evenly split between Republicans and Democrats with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as a deciding vote if support for certain legislation breaks down along party lines.
Although that likely leaves Democrats with the power to press forward with much of Biden’s agenda, it presents a hurdle to Senate management, particularly with regard to who serves on committees and how the rules for various Senate process are laid out.
With Harris in the driver’s seat, Schumer will likely become the “majority leader” though he will not control an official majority. “But the Senate will still need to pass an organizing resolution and work out committee ratios and other rules of the road,” according to Politico.
“Schumer and McConnell are largely expected to operate the Senate in a similar fashion to how former Senate leaders Trent Lott and Tom Daschle devised the last 50-50 blueprint,” the outlet continues. “That allowed for committee memberships to be evenly split, with bills that receive tied votes advancing to the floor; the party controlling the White House would still set the Senate schedule and determine which legislation would get taken up.”
“Similar to those rules, set in January 2001, Schumer and McConnell’s aides are discussing allowing bills and nominations to advance to the Senate floor even if they are tied during committee votes, something that could become common given that each party is expected to have the same number of seats on committees,” the report added.
The two leaders are expected to have a deal on Tuesday, but the Senate may not vote for several more days until two Democratic Senators from Georgia are seated and Kamala Harris’ replacement is sworn in.
Beyond that, McConnell is clearly done with President Donald Trump.
Last week, McConnell told Republicans that he isn’t sure if he would vote to convict Trump in the Senate impeachment trial.
However, a report broke earlier this week alleging that McConnell supports impeaching Trump from office.
McConnell has not openly come out and verbalized his favor of impeachment.
Sources close to McConnell allege that he’s informed colleagues that Trump engaged in impeachable acts; likewise, rumors assert that McConnell sees impeachment as an easier road to removing Trump and Trumpism from the Republican Party.
After Jan. 20, the Senate will be split at 50-50, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote for Democrats.
So, 17 Senate Republicans would need to flip and vote in favor of impeaching Trump in order to convict him.
If Trump is out of office, why does this even matter?
Trump has expressed interest in potentially running for president again in 2024. If the Senate votes to convict Trump, it would bar him from another White House run.