UPDATED 11:12 AM PT – Friday, January 22, 2021
Republicans are pushing back against Democrat efforts to overpower the minority party in the Senate.
In a tweet on Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) doubled down on his calls to maintain minority rights in the upper chamber to ensure Democrats don’t barrel through passing partisan legislation.
Minority rights on legislation are key to the Senate. President Biden spent decades defending them. More than two dozen Senate Democrats backed them just four years ago.
This isn’t complicated. Simply reaffirming that Democrats won’t break the rules should not be a heavy lift.
— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) January 21, 2021
Democrats have a slim majority in the chamber with a 50-50 split and Democrat Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie.
McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have reportedly been hammering out a deal to confront the power divide. The Republican leader is calling on the Democrat not to move forward on eliminating the filibuster.
McConnell even furthered his calls for unity on the hill in order to have a more productive Congress.
“Our country deserves for both sides, both parties, to find common ground for the common good everywhere that we can and disagree respectfully where we must,” McConnell said
However, Democrats are still trudging forward on efforts to eliminate the filibuster. Such a move would allow them to pass legislation with just 51 votes instead of a super majority of 60 votes. Democrats argued that this lined up with moves made in a similarly split Congress in 2001.
“We believe, our caucus believes, that the fairest, easiest and most bipartisan way to come to an organizing resolution is to enact the 2001 agreement that Senators Lott and Daschle came to in a bipartisan way back then,” Schumer stated.
The American people chose to retire four Republican Senators and elect a Democratic majority to this Senate.
Senator McConnell’s proposal for how to organize the Senate is unacceptable—and it won’t be accepted.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 22, 2021
This 2001 deal effectively allowed party leadership from both sides to move legislation deadlocked in committee. However, it would reportedly be more difficult to strike such a deal now with such a firm partisan divide on the hill.
The majority party’s push would be hypocritical as when Democrats had the minority in the Senate, over two dozen of them urged not to eliminate the filibuster.
Democrats may not even have full support from their own party, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) voiced he would likely vote against eliminating the rule. Though negotiations are still underway, political analysts predicted Democrats could be waiting for some kind of emergency to warrant such a drastic measure.
Whatever they decide, several Republicans have voiced optimism the GOP will regain control of the upper chamber come the next Congress and the same rules will apply to them.