(FiveNation)- While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell didn’t get exactly what he want, he got enough of an assurance to no longer stand in the way of the power-sharing agreement in the Upper Chamber.
On Tuesday, McConnell said he would no longer block the organizing resolution in the Senate. The resolution was necessary since there is a 50-50 split in the Senate. While Democrats technically hold the advantage since the vice president breaks vote ties, they don’t have the same full power since they have the same number of members as Republicans.
McConnell had been spending the past few weeks negotiating with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on the organizing resolution. One thing McConnell was insisting was a signed document saying Democrats wouldn’t seek to end the Senate’s legislative filibuster.
The filibuster effectively allows the minority party to prevent one party from passing through all the legislation they want with a simple majority vote. A proposal needs to have 60 votes in favor to avoid the filibuster power.
Schumer originally refused to definitively say that Democrats wouldn’t seek to end the filibuster, since it gives his party a lot of leverage in negotiations. The ironic thing, though, is that the organizing resolution itself is subject to the filibuster — meaning it needs 60 votes to pass.
As a result, McConnell was using that tool to block the measure from moving forward.
He decided to step aside from blocking in on Tuesday, though, after two Senate Democrats publicly said they wouldn’t vote in favor of eliminating the filibuster. Senators Krysten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia said as much this week.
Now that the Democrats don’t have the support of all 50 of their members in the Senate, eliminating the filibuster would prove impossible.
McConnell confirmed that this reassurance is what made him confident in allowing the organizing resolution to move forward. The resolution was necessary to allow Democrats to take over committee chair positions, which is key to moving forward. Republicans also kept the ability to oversee President Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominees and other policy priorities.
In a statement sent on Monday night, McConnell said:
“Today, two Democratic Senators publicly confirmed they will not vote to end the legislative filibuster. With these assurances, I look forward to moving ahead with a power-sharing agreement modeled on that precedent.”
The filibuster is such a big deal for the Republicans in the Senate. Without it, Democrats could push through whatever legislation they wanted — since they also have control of the House of Representatives and the White House. The filibuster requires them to get support from at least 10 Republicans for any bill — assuming all 50 Democrats vote in favor.
While the Democratic Senators who said they opposed eliminating the filibuster could certainly change their minds after the organizing resolution is passed, it doesn’t sound like they intend to do that.
A spokesperson for Sinema told the Washington Post on Monday:
“She is not open to changing her mind about eliminating the filibuster.”
And Manchin told Politico:
“If I haven’t said it very plain, maybe Senator McConnell hasn’t understood, I want to basically say it for you. That I will not vote in this Congress, that’s two years, right?”