Why Democrats want a 51-49 majority


If the Democrats win the Senate runoff in Georgia and secure a slim 51-49 majority over the Republicans, they will have significant advantages in power over the 50-50 split in the current Congress, in which a deal of Power sharing gives Republicans considerable clout over Democrats despite being in the minority.

  • Democrats would hold majorities on every committee, allowing them to process legislation and nominations much more quickly. Democrats would also benefit from larger staff and budgets, giving them more ability to carry out committee work. Committees are now evenly distributed — as are resources — allowing Republicans to slow the pace of candidates they oppose. When a pick freezes in committee, Democrats must take tedious steps to remove that person from the committee and allow a floor vote. In one instance earlier this year, Republicans used Banking Committee rules to prevent a vote from even taking place by boycotting committee sessions, ultimately forcing Chairman Joe Biden to remove a Federal Reserve nominee. It would also free up additional speaking time for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to use for other Democratic candidates and priorities.
  • Democrats would have stronger power to issue subpoenas. They would no longer need bipartisan support to issue subpoenas so they could circumvent GOP opposition to the use of these key tools. This could increase the power and number of Democratic-led investigations.
  • Centrist Democrats may not have as much power over the Democratic agenda. A two-seat majority margin gives Schumer more leeway to pass legislation without needing the support of everyone in his caucus — like West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, moderates who will both be re-elected in 2024. both held enormous power in the Senate 50-50.
  • Filling a vacancy on the Supreme Court might be easier. The two-seat margin could also become critical in the event of a Supreme Court vacancy, as only a majority is needed to confirm a justice for the position, allowing Schumer to lose a vote.
  • Harris may not be needed as often on the Hill. Democrats likely won’t have to rely so heavily on Vice President Kamala Harris to break tie votes on nominations and legislation, which she’s done 26 times so far in the current 50-50 Senate. , most by a modern-day vice president.

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