Senate

Will the Democrats Truly Have Control of the 50-50 Senate?

Vice President Kamala Harris will be able to case the tie-breaking vote, but 50+1/50 is still not 51/49.

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Democrats prevailed in both Georgia Senate runoff elections this week. Once those election results are certified, there will be 50 Senators caucusing with each party in the Senate (as two independents—Sens. Sanders and King—caucus with the Democrats). This has happened before—most recently in 2001—but it is quite unusual.

The general presumption is that a 50-50 Senate will give Democrats effective control of the Senate once Kamala Harris is sworn in as Vice President on January 20. Under Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution, the Vice President serves as President of the Senate, with the authority to cast the tie-breaking vote when the Senate is "equally divided."

Vice President Harris will certainly be able to cast the deciding vote when the Senate splits along party lines, but will the Democrats actually have control of the Senate? As it turns out, that is a bit more complicated.

50+1 is greater than 50, but it's not quite the same as 51-49 split. Numerically, there is less margin for error, and operationally it can be difficult to maintain control. When Vice President Harris is present, the Democrats will have a majority, but she will not always be present. (She will have a day job to attend to, even when not attending the funerals of foreign dignitaries.) And, as a practical matter, the 50-50 split creates a real possibility that Republicans could have a temporary majority of those physically present at any given point, with the opportunity to create mischief, including asserting majority control (even if only temporarily).

The last time the Senate was equally divided was in 2001. Each party had fifty Senators, and George W. Bush was in the White House, so Vice President Dick Cheney held the tie-breaking vote. Senate Republicans expected to assert majority control, with all of the attendant privileges, but it was not to be.

Largely due to the insistence of Senator Tom Daschle, the Senate adopted a power-sharing agreement  (embodied in this resolution) that gave Republicans an edge, but fell far short of true control. As recounted by Marty Paone, who served as Secretary for the Minority at the time, the agreement produced even splits on Senate Committees, equal staff levels and equal office space, but gave Republicans a slight edge in agenda control and created a mechanism to ensure items could not be bottled up in committees by tie votes.

A CRS report detailing the power-sharing agreement summarizes its provisions as follows:

Committees

  • All Senate committees would have equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats;
  • a full committee chair could discharge a subcommittee from further consideration of a measure or matter, if it was not reported because of a tie vote; and
  • budgets and office space for all committees were equally divided, with overall committee budgets to remain within "historic levels;"

Discharging Measures or Matters

  • If a measure or nomination was not reported because of a tie vote in committee, the majority or minority leader (after consultation with committee leaders) could move to discharge the committee from further consideration of such measure or nomination;
  • this discharge motion could be debated for four hours, equally divided and controlled by the majority and minority leaders. After the expiration (or yielding back) of time, the Senate would vote on the discharge motion, without any intervening action, motion, or debate; and
  • if the committee were discharged by majority vote, the measure or matter would be placed on the appropriate Senate calendar to await further parliamentary actions.

Agenda Control and Cloture

  • The agreement prohibited a cloture motion from being filed on any amendable item of business during the first 12 hours in which it is debated;
  • required both party leaders "to seek to attain an equal balance of the interests of the two parties" in scheduling and considering Senate legislative and executive business; and
  • noted that the motion to proceed to any calendar item "shall continue to be considered the prerogative of the Majority Leader," although qualifying such statement with the observation that "Senate Rules do not prohibit the right of the Democratic Leader, or any other Senator, to move to proceed to any item."

Will the Senate do something similar this year? I have my doubts, but we will see. On the one hand, it is the most recent applicable precedent, and some of the practical downsides of trying to maintain control of the Senate. On the other hand, partisan divisions are much greater today than they were back then, and both parties have engaged in opportunistic obstruction and retaliation against the other, to the point that there is little trust or comity between the parties. (And it is not as if yesterday's fiasco helped in that regard.)

Whether this sort of agreement is adopted or not, I think that Senate Democrats will find that 50+1 does not create the sort of stable majority for which they had hoped, particularly when there are some Senators (e.g. Joe Manchin) who may not be on board with everything the Democratic caucus wishes to do, and Vice President Harris may not want to spend all of her time in the Senate. For these reasons, I suspect Senator Schumer will ultimately seek some sort of accommodation with Senator McConnell, if for no other reason to ensure an orderly Senate for the next two years. If so, it will be interesting to see what that deal looks like, and whether it reflects the accommodation of 2001.

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  1. “Will the Senate do something similar this year?”

    No.

    “(She will have a day job to attend to, even when not attending the funerals of foreign dignitaries.)”

    Presiding in the Senate is part of her day job – it’s in the Constitution, whereas attending foreign leaders’ funerals is simply in the penumbras somewhere.

    1. Susan Collins will either switch parties or declare herself independent and caucus with the Democrats (like Jeffords did). It will be 51-49.

        1. Perhaps she is sentient and observe the conduct of recent Republicans and conservatives at the Capitol.

          1. People who do not join the Democratic party are non-sentient?

            1. Is a person actually sentient if their output could easily be replaced by a simple, albeit vulgarity-filled, Unix shell script?

              1. If the script is capable of passing the Turing Test, does the question of sentience even matter?

                1. Someone asked why Susan Collins might switch parties.

                  I observed that she might have observed the recent disgusting conduct of Republicans and conservatives, which has constituted ample cause for a reasonable person to choose to eschew association with right-wingers.

                  Try to lose with dignity, clingers. But you will lose. And you will comply. I will be content.

      1. Much more likely that Murkowski keeps things running smoothly if need be, especially given Alaska’s new election system (note- I’m not saying becomes a Dem).

        1. In Murkowski’s last race, the Democrat came in fourth.

          Given Alaska’s political leanings, I don’t see much reason to think that the runoff system will encourage a move to the left.

      2. Or Manchin will switch parties and put the Republicans up. Or neither.

        1. Uh, what? If Manchin didn’t switch parties when the Democrats were in the minority, why would he switch parties now, when they’re not?

          1. Because taking the Senate from a Republican majority to a slightly bigger Republican majority is worth a lot less than taking it from a tie with Harris breaking the tie, to a Republican majority.

            Basically you’re asking, “If he didn’t do it when it was largely meaningless, why would he do it when it would change everything?”

            1. So that is what the world looks like through a genetically substandard, bigoted, chemical haze . . . fascinating.

            2. Because taking the Senate from a Republican majority to a slightly bigger Republican majority is worth a lot less than taking it from a tie with Harris breaking the tie, to a Republican majority.

              He’d be switching from being in the majority with his party controlling the House and White House to being in the majority in a senate that couldn’t do anything at all. Why exactly would that be valuable?

              1. Wow, time for a reality check. With the pubs in the majority Biden would need to change his choices for any nomination that requires senate confirmation. Packing the SC would be out. Statehood to add dem senators would be out. That is just for starters.

          2. He will likely take on a role similar to Collins being the one Republicans go to to get compromises.

      3. “Susan Collins will either switch parties or declare herself independent and caucus with the Democrats”

        Democrats just spent almost $150M unsuccessfully trying to defeat Collins. She’s not joining them.

        1. Not to mention that she won by nearly 9 points when she was expected to lose by 5.

      4. I don’t think she will — honor still means something in Bangor, Maine. Jeffords is one thing, bur Collins is married to a Republican party activist.

      5. Yes, I’m expecting something like that. Not necessarily her, but somebody.

        The value of going from 50-50 to 51-49 is so high, the bribes and threats it will inspire will be terrifying.

    2. She’d better get used to being in the Senate every day then.

      1. My prediction is she will.

        Why wouldn’t she? What does the Vice President do all day that is so important? Biden will have a cabinet plus a staff. Obviously, in a perfect world, you’d want Harris there too, but one of Biden’s strengths is that he has been in the federal government since forever. He knows how everything works. He’ll be fine even if Harris does nothing but preside over the Senate.

        I suspect the Bush-Cheney-Daschle agreement had something to do with the fact that Cheney did not want to spend all his time running the Senate, because he had a big role in W’s administration.

        1. I suspect it had more to do with comity as back in 2001, the Senate wasn’t broken.

      2. Like every other Senator and Kamala.

        1. The Democrats will have the power — all of it, when the chips are down — in two weeks. I expect them to use it. I expect the Republicans to cry a lot.

          I am content.

          1. You’re wrong again.

  2. The Democrats also have far better party discipline. Why would a party in the majority (51/50) need to agree to the “power sharing” you described above. The Republicans did, I can almost guarantee that the Democrats won’t. As has often been said, when Democrats win they are in power, when Republicans win they are in office.

    1. The same party discipline that shoved Bernie to the sidelines in 2016?

      The same party discipline that let so many socialists spout so much Green Raw Deal and other spendy and politically correct nonsense that the Dems lost seats in the House, couldn’t oust Trump except by a random few thousand votes, and barely won the Senate when they had been predicted to win a clear majority?

    2. If there’s no power-sharing agreement then it’s going to be a bumpy ride for the Democrats as they need to be in the majority the entire time that the Senate is in session. If the Republicans control the floor even for a brief time, they might be able to derail legislation or nominations.

      1. For a moment, perhaps, until the Democrats resumed the whip hand and slapped the Republicans back to the political Stone Age. The Republicans, after this week’s stunts, might be wise to refrain from testing the leash. Some Democrats are in the mood for yanking.

  3. The demoncrats will control the senate, because the republicans lack sufficient testosterone levels to fight them

    1. That (they lack the balls for a nasty, dragged out cage match), and political incompetence.

  4. You are delusional.

    The “will to power” shall ensure that it won’t be the House and Senate, but rather Pelosi and Schumer.

  5. Team R has multiple options; all they need to do is scrupulously follow the rules. And it is perfectly legal (this is important as this is a law professor blog). 🙂

    For example, one option Team R can exercise is to require cloture votes out the ying yang. That will take substantial time off the proverbial clock until the 2022 election. It could take some time to seat the entire cabinet. Literally months. Lots of deputies and assistants that are voted on by the Senate also. More months. So many cloture votes, so little time to do much of anything else. Granted, it is not much of an option for Team R, but it does have the virtue of slowing down the process. And it is perfectly within the rules.

    I’ve never studied Senate parliamentary rules before, but I sure am thinking about it now.

    1. I’m not convinced you’re right, but it sure seems like the smart way to bet. McConnell’s strategy under Obama was to obstruct, block, and delay as much as possible. I doubt that this zebra’s changed its stripes.

      That said, my understanding is that a 50+1 “majority” could change the cloture rules, so if the obstruction gets too onerous we might see Schumer and Harris “go nuclear”.

      1. Senate Rule 22 is what you’re looking for. But I don’t think the votes are there to change it.

        1. Recall how the nuclear option actually worked. The question isn’t, “Are the votes there to change it?”

          The question is, “Are the votes there to say that they changed it?”

          The Senate rules still explicitly permit filibusters of judicial confirmations. They just voted to accept a ruling from the parliamentarian that the rules meant the opposite of what they said.

          1. You need 2/3rds of the Senate to vote to change that rule (Senate Rule 22), I believe. You might want to look that up and check me.

            1. I’ve read that there is SCOTUS precedent from the 19th century that the House and Senate both can change their internal rules on a simple majority even if they have a “rule” that says otherwise.

          2. No, the parliamentarian correctly advised the chair that the rules meant what the said, the chair so ruled, and the majority leader (or his tool, I forget the details) moved to overrule the chair, and the motion to overrule passed, by a mere majority vote.

            It was completely unprincipled, but it worked. So when the Republicans came to power, they decided that two could play that corrupt game.

            I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dems pull it a third time, this time to end the filibuster for ordinary legislation (which I guess would leave it in place for resolutions thanking long-time employees for their service to the Senate).

    2. The other relevant fact is that 2022 may not be the reprieve you appear to think it is. The GOP will be defending 21 seats vs only 13 for the Dems, and there are a few ripe pickups in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. Perhaps Ohio and Florida too, but we’re still 2 years out so who knows?

      1. I’d be careful about counting the D’s Senate seat chickens before they hatch as the GOP has rematches scheduled in AZ and GA. We’ll see whether the GOP can actually nominate viable candidates.

        As for the House, it’s quite likely that the D’s currently miniscule majority will be ended through redistricting and reapportionment alone.

        Of course, that’s assuming that the D’s don’t shoot themselves in the foot by pushing unpopular legislation like they did with Obamacare in 2010. Republicans picked up Senate seats in Illinois and Massachusetts that year and had a truly historic wave in the House.

        That’s assuming that the D’s learned their lesson last time. Given their current desire to push as hard and fast as they can and many of them saying they’re abandoning incrementalism, I don’t think they learned their lesson.

        1. I think they did learn their lesson, but it’s not the lesson you or I would have preferred they learn.

          It’s more like, “Cheat harder, and leave nothing to chance. There is no overkill, there is only enough kill, and losing.”

          Republicans, start LIVING in the Senate chamber. Resign yourself to it. Because the Democrats only need a majority of a quorum, not a majority of 100, and they don’t even need a quorum if they’re willing to hold voice votes and ignore quorum calls.

      2. Oops. Make that 20-14 with yesterday’s results from Georgia.

      3. The Dems were predicted to win more House and Senate seats. They managed to eke out a bare Senate tie by the skin of their teeth, and lost seats in the House. Trump vs Dems was the same ratio as in 2016; in the face of such a divisive President, Trump’s 2020 loss was the same few thousand votes as was his 2020 win. In other words, Dems disgusted the electorate more than the GOP did.

        Give the Dems two more years to piss people off with more “amen and awomen” politically correct nonsense, trillions in new budget deficits, higher taxes, more wars, inflation from all that spending plus minimum wage doubling, and 2022 is going to be a blood bath for the Democrats.

        1. The Democrats are also showing their crafty intelligence early by threatening to impeach Trump to forbid him from running for office again. That would be the best present the GOP could have, by giving them a martyr while freeing them from that martyr and letting them spend the next four years finding a new crop of Presidential candidates. If the Dems had any brains, they’d leave Trump alone to be the albatross around the GOP’s neck.

          1. “while freeing them from that martyr and letting them spend the next four years finding a new crop of Presidential candidates.”

            But in that scenario it’s the GOP establishment that’s been freed from Trump, and they’ll spend the next four years finding a new crop of establishment hacks.

            1. Yes, but that’s what all political parties do all the time. I take it for granted.

        2. But they will also have 2-4 years to perfect their MSM censorship machine. You think last year was bad? By 2024 we’ll look back at 2020 and miss the free, unfettered speech we had enjoyed.

          1. The problem with, for example, Disney locking Mickey up behind copyrights is that the copyright fences also fence Mickey in; he can’t evolve with culture in a free market, but only as the Disney central planners want, and they are as incompetent as all central planners.

            Thus it is with the mainstream media. They have such a lock on their ideology that most people, even their partisan fans, know they are partisan hicks, not true news sources. There is a huge opportunity opening up that they won’t be able to control. If Biden et al use the next 2-4 years to boost the mainstream (ie, lefty) media, they are simultaneously improving the opportunity for alternative media.

    3. If the GOP has more members on the floor, then there’s no end to the heartburn they can cause for the Democrats. The only real saving grace that the Democrats have is ironically the filibuster.

      1. If you want the Democrats to change the rules and emasculate the Republicans for a couple of years, keep talking, clinger. Democratic House. Democratic Senate. Democratic president. Republicans will operate solely as the Democrats permit.

        1. How did changing the rules to eliminate the filibuster for nominations work out for Senate Democrats? They got 1 year to jam through nominees, lost control of the Senate in the next election, endured political payback affecting Obama’s remaining nominees, then lost the presidential election, making them powerless to block Trump’s nominees. The majority party shouldn’t impose any rules they wouldn’t want to live with as the minority party, since recent political history strongly suggests neither party will control the Senate for that long.

    4. All you’ve done is restate the 2008-2014 gop legislative strategy. Everybody already knows that’s what they’re going to do.

  6. Of course the Democrats will want a power-sharing agreement — they are SO much fairer and decent than Republicans!

    Hey … stop laughing!!!!

  7. “Vice President Harris may not want to spend all of her time in the Senate”

    If anything, this would be a reason why Republicans would often try to *prevent* votes from being 50/50. Most VPs are non-entities, and while they often run for President, they don’t necessarily win (or at least, don’t win on the first go-round!). Why give Kamala Harris the optics of being the tiebreaker, who gets to take as much visible credit for being the one to pass policies as the President?

    1. What policies is Kamala Harris going to pass? The filibuster isn’t going anywhere.

      1. That depends on how Republicans behave.

        1. Seeing as Republicans aren’t about to come out of the closet as super duper seeekrit Democrats, the only policies Harris will sign are “continue as normal” omnibus bills and whatever tax hike that the Democrats can cobble together under budget reconciliation.

  8. the one thing I think all or most of us can agree on (from the OP lists) is: Equal budget and office space. Frankly, this should be part of the Senate self-imposed rules, even when there is a 60-40 split, or 55-45 split. Why on earth should the “winner” get more committee office space or budget?

    Does some historian know the answer to this? Maybe there’s a commonsense explanation that I’m overlooking.

    (I, personally, would *always* like to see committees have equal numbers of Rs and Ds. With the extra rule that, in the case of a tie, the chairman could break that tie. Yeah, in practical effect, it would be the same as a one-seat advantage in members. But, in terms of optics, a committee with an equal number of human beings on either side would be at least lip-service to the “Hey, we’re trying to get along and work together.” narrative.

    1. “Why on earth should the “winner” get more committee office space or budget?”

      What about a 99-1 split, or a 25-25-25-25, or 50-40-7-3 split? Can the party with 3 senators demand equal office space as the one that has 50?

      Granted, the actual numbers are rarely far from 50-50, but it doesn’t seem all that outrageous that a party holding 40 seats only gets 40% of the space/staff/whatever.

      As an aside, I’m old enough to remember when the senate was much more collegial. Losing that hasn’t been good for the country.

      1. Oh, of course. My assumption was that both sides automatically got (just to make up numbers) $1,000,000 per senator and then the party in power got a bit extra money. So, it would have been my assumption that 60-40 would have meant (under my system) that it would be 60 million to one side and 40 to the other. I was never starting from the premise that it would be more fair to say, “Your side must split 50 million among 60 senators, while the other side can split that 50 million among 40 senators.”

        1. That is the sensible reading of what you wrote.

          The basis for the party in majority getting a disproportionate share of resources is that the party in power is actually doing things, the party in minority is merely futilely objecting to them.

          And futile objection doesn’t need a lot of resources to pull off.

        2. Ah. I guess I’m not sure which it is from the OP. But I think we’re in fervid agreement about what it should be. After all, the minority senators are representing their constituents just like the majority ones.

          (now if we could just get pols who win a 51/49 election to remember they also have a responsibility to represent the 49 percent)

  9. “Will the Democrats Truly Have Control of the 50-50 Senate?”
    No!

    So (not changing the subject) what’s your favorite recipe for Kaaamel-Biden Bananas? That’s sickly sweet Kaaamel poured over some small, overly-ripe fruit.

    Academic recipe swap time. (No liquor.)

    1. I don’t get it.

  10. Just having a Senate where the Gravedigger isn’t in control of the Senate agenda is a boon all by itself.

    Can anyone here give a number to the nearest 100 how many bills were passed by the House which never got a floor debate in the Senate last year?

    1. If they weren’t worth the majority’s time, then spending time on useless debate would be useless by definition.

      1. I wouldn’t say that. McConnell routinely blocked legislation that would have gotten a majority. During the first two years of Trump’s administration, he was doing it to legislation Republicans favored.

        He was doing it to protect RINO Senators from being exposed by voting in ways their electorates opposed, and getting primaried.

        1. > I wouldn’t say that. McConnell routinely blocked legislation that would have gotten a majority. During the first two years of Trump’s administration, he was doing it to legislation Republicans favored.

          Which legislation was blocked that was favored?
          Which Republicans favored that legislation?
          In which states?
          Was it a poll? If so, who conducted the poll and was it a push poll?
          Did the Senate GOP offer an alternative?

          The example that comes to mind for me is gun control. Just because 90% of Americans want background checks on private sales doesn’t mean that all Americans actually agree on the details. The GOP put forward their plan, and the Democrats put forward their own, yet somehow Democrats try to paint it as the GOP refusing to enact anything.

          > He was doing it to protect RINO Senators from being exposed by voting in ways their electorates opposed, and getting primaried.

          Agreed. However, I don’t see anything wrong with this. There’s no problem with Senators abiding by their constituents’ wishes, and if the majority considers it more important to maintain a certain policy stance by the Senate (such as by maintaining their majority) then there’s nothing wrong with that either.

  11. I think we’re in a different era. It’s very unlikely Democrats would ever agree to equally divided committees and similar arrangements. If the Republicans don’t like it, then the Democrats simply pass their own take it or leave it committee arrangement measure and Vice President Harris breaks the tie. The sort of liesurely, gentlemanly bipartisan arrangement that existed at the time of the last 50-50 split just doesn’t seem relevant to our current political world.

    Also, Biden could cut or even eliminate the Vice President’s usual ribbon cutting and dignitary activities, to enable Harris to spend all her time in the Senate if she needs to. And it might be well worth it to the Democrats to do so, particularly if Republicans attempt to take advantage of moments when the chamber doesn’t have enough Democrats.

    1. We were divided back then as well (Bushitler! Selected not elected!) and the idea was a vain attempt by the Republicans to sow peace.

      The Democrats rewarded them quickly grabbing a majority by essentially bribing a Senator to defect to the Democrats.

      1. Jim Jeffords was always a liberal Republican, and I strongly believe he came to the conclusion that he wasn’t really at home with the party that the Republicans had become. The Democrats accommodated his request to have the committee assignments he would have had if he had always caucused with the Democrats. I don’t think that this was Democrats “grabbing a majority by essentially bribing a Senator to defect”; I think this was Republicans “losing a tie by moving away from traditional Main St. Businessman Republican values toward a more extreme conservative position, alienating its most liberal member.”

        1. The truth is, Team D enticed Jeffords with promises of committee assignments, and then reneged on much of the deal. He retired, and Bolshevik Bernie replaced him.

  12. Couldn’t the Democrats change the rules of the Senate so the VP can break ties via remote voting using some secure app on her phone? Schumer would then just send a “We need a yay [or nay] to break a tie vote on Senate Bill [xyz] – click YAY [or NAY] to cast your vote.” request via the app. Harris could do this from anywhere in the world including while on Air Force Two. (Perhaps she could just set up the app to automatically vote the way Schumer requires and she wouldn’t even have to do anything.)

    That would seem to largely address a need to do her other jobs of attending funerals, ribbon cuttings, etc.

  13. Old Democratic song: Happy Days are Here Again.

    New Democratic song:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1BNcSBApOU

  14. Lube up and bend over, clingers!

  15. I suspect that Kamala Harris won’t want to spend much of her time presiding over the Senate, taking part only when her vote is necessary to break a tie. (I think under the rules the presiding officer doesn’t participate in the debate but just sits there keeping order and voting on rare occasion. It isn’t a place with lots of exposure (except for rare bills with high visibility). Most of the time the action on the floor is mundane. If she wants to be the Presidential candidate in 2024 she wants to be in the limelight much more (the way that Cheney was) doing things that make her look Presidential. Sitting on the Senate podium doesn’t accomplish that.
    As to party switching a good case could be made for Manchin to switch. He’s up for re-election in 2022 in a state which had close to the highest Republican vote percentage. The state loses a congressional seat and one of them may run against Manchin (or the Governor, a Republican who switched parties might run). Biden is likely to be pushing the Green New Deal which is an anathema for coal producers, a core West Virginia industry. Switching now would mean he’d be the Republican incumbent and a primary challenger would be much less likely.
    Another more immediate point, will Impeachment or the 25th Amendment be invoked. There may be good reasons in theory but there would be a serious risk in making Trump a martyr to his followers which might induce him to run in 2024. And if he still has a sufficiently dedicated following and doesn’t win the Republican primary he might run as a third party with the same disasterous results that Teddy Roosevelt caused in 1912. I think if he just slinks out of office in 12 days his chances in 2024 are greatly reduced. But I digress.

    1. Manchin is up for re-election in 2024, not 2022. Running in a presidential election year will likely make it more difficult for him to separate himself from the national Democratic Party, which isn’t very popular in West Virginia. Manchin only won by ~ 3% in 2018, a good year for Democrats, and he might lose or retire in 2024, but I don’t see him switching parties. He’s passed on that before, and he goes out of his way to vote with his fellow Democrats on most matters that really count. It will be interesting to see if that continues now that he will get the more intense scrutiny that comes with being the vital 50th vote.

  16. This is all assuming that some member of the senate won’t die by natural causes and throw all the math off.

  17. Er, no. Being President of the Senate is her day job. All the rest is the side gig, unless and until the President is disabled.

    That VPs starting with Lyndon B. Johnson have failed to treat their actual Constitutional responsibility as their day job and operated out of a White House office instead of a Senate office indicates two things. The first thing it indicates is the breakdown of the balance of government in the direction of an executive dictatorship, and the second is a persistent pattern of delinquency by the holders of the Vice-Presidency.

  18. Her control will be limited, but just being able to bring items and appointments up for a vote will be good,

  19. She will have a day job to attend to, even when not attending the funerals of foreign dignitaries.

    Presiding over the Senate *is*, constitutionally speaking, her day job.

  20. Dem control of the senate will be mispresented and misunderstood as a “majority” by many, including the press. It’s why I smack my head when I see Schumer I sit $2000 checks are on the way now.

    Red and swing state Dems alone, particularly Manchin but there’ll be others, mean that most dem legislation is doa or will so watered down as to be near-useless. The filibuster is going nowhere, so McConnell still rules the day. And almost none of the work necessary to patch this nation, our government, and our institutions up — forget “fix” — will be done.

    Then add in the disparate interest groups throughout the dem caucus and we are basically looking at Obama Legislative Inertia 2.0. And again Dems will get all the heat for it.

    Dems have control, but they’re not actually in control.

  21. My recollection of 2001 is that the Republicans agreed to relatively equal standing in return for the Senate Democrats not contesting the Florida electoral vote, and in part because the Republicans did not really have a very convincing presidential win in 2000.

    Neither apply in the present circumstance, and the extreme bad faith of the Republicans is certainly a given after the recent Supreme Court nominations.

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