Home US Politics FAQs Everything you need to know about the current power sharing agreement in the US Senate

Everything you need to know about the current power sharing agreement in the US Senate

by Eli Mshomi

With the highly divided Senate, the ongoing tussle between Democrats and Republicans has sparked controversies between both the major political parties. Despite having a debate, the power sharing agreement between both parties is still a pipe dream.

To reconstruct the Senate committees, it is an immediate necessity that Congress passes the organizing resolution so that the Senate can get back to work once again.

Kamala Harris has a tie-breaking vote in the Senate but owing to run the day-to-day affairs of the Senate, the Senate needs a power sharing agreement as the vice president could not come to the Senate on a daily basis.

We have gathered a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the power sharing agreement and the disputes that hinder the progress of the Senate. Let’s have a look.

1. Why has the power sharing agreement become the talk of the town immediately?

With Democrats winning the Georgia runoff elections, the construction of the Senate is now 50-50, With both Democrats and Republicans occupying the same number of seats. However, with the tie-breaker vote of Kamala Harris, Democrats are currently leading the Senate. But, VP Harris cannot be in the Senate every time due to her other official duties. So, a power sharing agreement becomes more relevant now so that both the major parties could carry the process of legislation in the Senate.

 

2. I cannot understand the complex Senate hearings. What is all the mess in the Senate right now?

The Senate has the Democratic majority right now. But the Senate committees are still being headed by Republicans, which is why the Senate is in a mess right now. Both parties want a power sharing agreement as soon as possible. For instance, during the recent hearing on Biden’s Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, a Republican senator named Roger Wicker led the proceedings of the meeting despite the Democrats’ control of the Senate.


3. How will Congress get rid of the current mess?

At the start of every new Congress, the Senate passes the organizing resolution, which mentions the Senate Committees membership and committee ratios. Currently, the mess is about passing this very organizing resolution, which is a power sharing agreement between both parties. 

 

4. Why are Democrats and Republicans not passing the organizing resolution immediately and getting back to the real work?

There are currently two bones of contention in passing the organizing resolution. The first one is about conducting the Senate trial of the impeached president Donald Trump, which McConnell proposed in February. However, Democrats want to settle the dust once and for all as early as possible. Secondly, Mitch McConnell is seeking a promise from Democrats to save the filibuster, a demand which the Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer vehemently rejected.

 

5. What is a filibuster, over which there is a debate in the Senate?

The filibuster is a term used in the United States Senate as a tactic most of the Senators use to delay the legislative process. As a matter of fact, most legislations require 60 votes to be passed. However, a major party having 60 seats in the Senate is quite rare. So, most of the time, the party controlling the Senate depends on the other party to pass their legislation.

 

6. Why do Democrats want to end the filibuster?

Partisanship in the United States Senate is more than ever today. Democrats know that Republicans will not help them promoting Biden’s agenda in legislation. This is because most of Biden’s policies are completely opposite to those of Trump. The same Senators who are in the Senate right now voted for Trump’s agenda, and now they are unlikely to reverse the very same things they earlier approved. So, Democrats want to settle the dust once and for all by ending the filibuster.

 

7. Why do Republicans not want to end the filibuster?

Republicans have lost the presidency, House, and the Senate in the 2020 elections. Now, to be in mainstream politics, the filibuster is the only hope for Republicans. Otherwise, their relevancy will be no more in the Senate, and Democrats will be able to pursue their policies without Republicans’ consultation at all.

 

8. Is it possible for Democrats to end the filibuster?

Technically, it is possible for Democrats to end the filibuster alone with the help of all the 50 Senators and the vote of Vice President Kamala Harris. However, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has already said that he will not entertain anything to end the filibuster, making it difficult for them to eliminate the filibuster.

 

9. Is a filibuster always a bad thing?

Most of the time, the filibuster is used as a delaying tactic. So, parties in the United States are using it as a political move instead of service to the nation. However, it must be noted that, if used correctly, the filibuster can reduce the monopoly of one political party in the US Senate, and therefore promote the consultation and discussion on various policy matters, which is one of the very basic pillars of democracy.

 

10. How are Republicans playing politics on the filibuster?

Under Mitch McConnell’s leadership, Republicans have been playing politics on many matters now, and the filibuster is one of them. For this very purpose, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren said,

 

“Mitch McConnell was fine with getting rid of the filibuster to a United States Supreme Court nominee for a lifetime appointment, but he’s not okay getting rid of the filibuster for unemployment relief for families that are out of work because of COVID-19.”

(Senator Elizabeth Warren)

 

It is pertinent to note here that the same McConnell helped Trump to confirm the Supreme Court nominee Justice Amy Coney Barrett in just eight days but lingered calling the Senate session to conduct the Senate trial of Donald Trump, as he became the first president in the United States history to be impeached twice.

 

Infographics explaining FAQs regarding to Power sharing agreement

 

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