Currently Democrats have 48 seats and Republicans have 50 seats in the Senate. If Democrats win both the Georgia seats in the runoff, the Senate will be 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote. Democrats will have the majority. If Democrats lose one seat, Republicans will have the majority, and Mitch McConnell will continue to be majority leader. Not only would Republicans be able to block any legislation they chose, but as majority leader, McConnell would control the schedule and could block anything he wanted from being brought up for a vote.
What is at stake?
All of Biden’s agenda is at risk without a senate majority. Legislative action is urgently needed for issues that absolutely CANNOT wait another two years:
- More stimulus relief for Covid
- Climate action
- Health care
- Infrastructure investment
“If I’m still the majority leader of the Senate, think of me as the ‘Grim Reaper.’ None of that stuff is going to pass – none of it.”Mitch McConnell
All cabinet appointees and many other positions require Senate confirmation, so Biden would have to appease a Republican majority with his choices.
“Mitch McConnell will force Joe Biden to negotiate every single cabinet secretary”Sen. Chris Murphy
The judiciary is dramatically further to the right than the country’s electorate, thanks to a concerted effort by Mitch McConnell. The consequences of a far right judiciary are immense. The courts could torpedo:
- Abortion access and reproductive rights
- Voting Rights
- LGBTQ rights
- Climate Action
- Campaign Finance Reform
How did we get here?
- McConnell blocked Barack Obama’s judicial appointees during 2015-2016, most famously not allowing Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland to even get a hearing.
- When Trump was elected, McConnell took advantage of the openings left by his blockade during Obama’s term to furiously confirm conservative judges to lifetime appointments.
- During the current lameduck session, McConnell continues to confirm conservative judges, violating the traditional “Thurman rule” of stopping a few months before election day.
- Republicans jammed through Amy Coney Barret’s nomination to replace Ruth Bader Ginsberg, 10 days before the election and after millions had already voted. This was astonishingly hypocritical after claiming they should not hold a vote on Garland 9 months before the election because it was an election year, claiming “the American people should have a say.”
- If McConnell continues to be majority leader he will likely return to complete obstruction and attempt to leave as many judgeships vacant as possible to continue conservative dominance of the courts.