Democrat senator’s stroke shows fragility of 50-50 Senate majority
At 49, Luján is one of the Senate’s young men, but his sudden hospitalization, at least for the time being, has stripped him of most of the functions of Leader Chuck Schumer should he ever need to call. a short notice vote.
Democrats believe they have a good chance of getting at least a few GOP votes to confirm Biden’s as-yet-unannounced candidacy that would give them some breathing space. But given the stark polarization in Washington, there is no doubt that tactical calculations could change if political winds change. Without the Republican vote, they would need all 50 Democratic senators to vote in person to support the nomination.
Therefore, speed is of the essence for Democrats to avoid any mishaps with Supreme Court confirmation. Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin of Illinois said Tuesday that Biden is hoping for a speedy confirmation process in about 40 days after he names his pick. If the President announces the nominees later this month, that could give Luján two months or more of convalescence before a final vote if needed.
Schumer was quick to quash speculation about the resilience of the Democratic majority and was quick to say that the priority was for Luján to recover. “We are all grateful that he will make a full recovery,” the New York Democrat told reporters, before sending a message to calm the Democrats’ nerves.
“We wish him a speedy return to the Senate and I believe the Senate will be able to continue its business,” Schumer said.
Several of Luján’s other colleagues also emphasized that he is expected to make a full recovery and will be back with them soon.
“I think it’s important that all of us in this business really put this location first,” said Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico. “My hope is that Ben Ray will put himself first in the next two weeks.”
Elderly Senate raises concerns among Democrats
A sudden reminder of mortality in any workplace can cause anxiety. And given the enormous political implications of the Senate’s fragile balance of power and the advanced age of incumbents, such shocks are particularly reverberating on Capitol Hill.
In the event Feinstein leaves before the end of his term, Democratic Governor of California Gavin Newsom could choose a replacement, and he said he would choose a black woman. Leahy’s state, Vermont, where the GOP governor is located, has a tradition of appointing an interim replacement from the same party as an outgoing senator. States have different rules about naming alternate senators and interim seat holders and about calling special elections. But it is not impossible that a Democratic senator forced to resign or die will be replaced, at least for a short time, by a Republican governor in a way that transfers majority control to GOP.
Even if that doesn’t happen, things are tough enough for Schumer as he tries to figure out how to revive Biden’s Build Back Better plan and somehow keep the battle for voting reform going. exist. Before Luján’s status became known, several brief episodes encapsulated the Democratic conundrum.
Asked if he had held talks with Democrats about the Build Back Better plan, Manchin replied Tuesday: “No, no, no, no. It’s dead.” After that, the West Virginian said that anything done would have to be structured differently from the latest failed version of Biden’s key bill. “You always start from zero,” he said, although Schumer later insisted that he fought hard to get as much out of the plan as he could. Previous drafts include free pre-K tuition and increased home health care for aging Americans as well as half a billion dollars in climate spending.
How majors can change midterm
The confrontation with Manchin underscores the need for Democrats to act quickly on their priorities as they are not necessarily guaranteed to keep a slim majority until the next Congress is elected in an election. midterm in November.
Such a scenario is more unlikely in today’s polarized age, when differences are more clearly defined by the affiliation of parties than it was in Johnson’s day, when coalitions were often forged on Ideological and geographical differences span both sides. The idea that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would give up his chance to take power again is unthinkable.