Senator Mitch McConnell on Monday dropped his demand that the new Democratic majority in the Senate pledge to uphold the disruption – which Republicans could use to derail President Biden’s agenda – ending the impasse that prevented Democrats from assuming full power even after they won the election.
But as in past fights over disruption, the result is likely only a temporary solution. As Biden’s agenda moves forward, Democrats will come under increasing pressure from activists to abandon the base, which effectively requires 60 votes to advance any action if Republicans regularly use it to disrupt or halt the administration’s priorities.
In his negotiations with Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the new majority leader, Mr. McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, had refused to approve a plan to regulate the chamber without a commitment from Democrats to protect disruption, a condition that Mr. Schumer refused.
But late Monday, as the stalemate continued, Mr. McConnell found a way out by referring to statements by two centrist Democrats, Senator Joe Mansheen III of West Virginia and Kirsten Cinema of Arizona, who said they were opposed to getting rid of the procedural gadget – the position they occupied. For several months – as sufficient guarantee to proceed without a formal promise from Mr. Schumer.
“With these assurances, I look forward to moving forward with a power-sharing agreement along the lines of the previous one,” Mr. McConnell said in a statement.
The Democrats had expected McConnell to surrender and said they believed he had passed over in the negotiations.
“We are glad Senator McConnell threw out the towel and gave up his ridiculous request,” said Justin Goodman, a spokesman for Mr. Schumer. “We look forward to getting the Senate organized under Democratic control and starting to do big, bold things for the American people.”
Even some lawmakers who supported the blocking have vehemently said they might change their minds if Republicans engage in continued obstruction.
“I feel very strong, but I’ll tell you this as well: I’m here to get things done,” said John Tester, Democrat of Montana. “If all that happens is disruption after disruption, barrier after checkpoint, my mind may change.”
Mr. McConnell’s request for preemptive surrender to the procrastination angered Democrats, who saw it as evidence that the Republican leader intends to block Mr. Biden’s proposals on pandemic relief, immigration, climate change, healthcare and more.
The stalemate led to a strange situation as most of the Senate committees were frozen under Republican control and it was not possible for the new senators to sit on the committees even though the Democrats now lead the majority in the Senate.
Besides the immediate logistical effects, the row reflected a difficult Senate 50-50 dynamic for Biden. By holding on to Democrats eager to take charge, Mr. McConnell was wielding his influence. But he also predicted a final clash in the hall that could have taken months to unravel just how aggressive the Democrats are in pursuit of Biden’s top priorities.
Democrats say they should at least retain the threat that they can one day end the disruption, arguing that bowing to McConnell’s demand now will only encourage Republicans to deploy it consistently, without fear of retaliation.
The controversy is a rule at the core of the consensus-driven Senate that virtually any legislation must attract 60 votes for progress. But like everything else in the room, the rule itself is subject to change if the senators agree. As the majority party, the Democrats could move to wipe out procrastination and force them by changing the rules on a simple majority vote – a move known as the “nuclear option” detonation – if their 50 members held together and Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-break vote.
The Commerce Department wields wide-ranging authority over broad issues such as technology exports and climate change. On Tuesday, President Biden’s nominee to run the agency, Gina M. Raimondo, will appear before the Senate Commerce Committee for a ratification hearing. Raimondo, the current governor of Rhode Island, is a moderate Democrat and precedent investor capitalist.
Here are some things to watch as the hearing starts at 10 am
Confronting China’s growing technological reach
Senators from both parties are likely to ask Ms. Raymondo about how she plans to use the Commerce Department’s powers to counter China’s increasing mastery of advanced and sensitive technologies, such as advanced communications and artificial intelligence.
The Trump administration has used the ministry’s powers extensively to crack down on Chinese technology companies, as it has often turned to the so-called Entity List, which allows the United States to prevent companies from selling American products and technology to certain foreign companies without first obtaining a license. Dozens of companies have been added to List of the Ministry of Commerce, Including telecom giants like Huawei and ZTE.
The Commerce Department was also tasked with determining President Donald J Trump’s decision to ban the United States from Chinese-owned social media apps TikTok and WeChat – actions that were subsequently halted by court order. Mr. Biden did you say He views TikTok’s access to US data as “an issue of real concern,” but it is unclear how the new administration will address these issues.
But the Commerce Department has other capabilities that some tech experts say have not been used sufficiently in the Trump administration, such as the role it plays in setting the global technology standards that private companies should operate by.
Advancing economic recovery
As Secretary of Commerce, Ms. Raymondo will exercise powers that can help ailing businesses and advance the Biden administration’s goals of building up domestic industry and stimulating American research and development. This includes the economic development programs and manufacturing partnerships that the Department of Commerce provides to small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as its primary mission of boosting US exports.
Delve into Mrs. Raymondo’s past
Like some of Mr. Biden’s other candidates, Ms. Raimundo has faced little backlash from progressive Democrats, who have criticized her close ties to venture capital and big tech companies. Prior to running for political office, Ms. Raymondo was a founding employee at the investment firm Village Ventures, which was backed by Bain Capital, and co-founded her venture capital firm, Point Judith Capital.
Some progressives also condemned some of the actions I took as governor of Rhode Island, including clashing with unions while reforming the state’s pension plans and extending some liability protections to nursing homes and healthcare facilities during the pandemic. But the Democrats, who will support Ms. Raymondo’s quick assertion, are unlikely to press hard on the issues, if at all.
Mrs. Raymondo Financial disclosure formsReleased this month, it also appears uncontroversial, showing an annual salary of $ 150,245 from Rhode Island and $ 2.9 million to $ 7.5 million in cash, investment accounts, and other assets, especially mutual funds.
Eliyahu Weinstein received word that two-thirds of his 24-year sentence for investment fraud would be commuted by President Donald J Trump after the White House chief of staff contacted a Washington lobbyist who was assigned to lead clemency. Push.
Lawrence McCarroll learned that his petition to the Department of Justice W. Message He had sent him to the President but failed to earn him a commutation for the remaining six years of his 33-year sentence for a nonviolent drug offense when his mother sent an email from her home in Kenosha, Wisconsin, letting him know that his name had not appeared in news reports about the last round of the pardon to Mr. Trump.
The contrast between the treatment of Mr. Weinstein and Mr. McCarroll highlights the two very different regimes for determining who received clemency during Mr. Trump’s presidency.
In one system, people like the McCarrolls often pinned their hopes on the regular process run by the Department of Justice, which often takes years to produce a response, if a response is made at all. In the other system, people like Mr. Weinstein crossed the line and took their petitions directly to the president’s office because they had money, connections, or allies who did.
Of the nearly 240 pardons and mitigations issued by Mr.Trump, only 25 came through a rigorous process of identifying and examining meritorious clemency petitions overseen by the Justice Department, according to a count maintained in part by a former US pardon attorney.
In addition to rewarding people like Mr. Weinstein whose allies could have purchased access to the highest levels of management, the results included amnesty for those who had Direct personal relationships With the former president, like his longtime advisor Roger J. Stephen K. BannonAnd his former campaign head is Paul Manafort and father-in-law, Charles Kushner.