by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The impact of twin Democratic wins, if both hold, is devastating to Senate Republicans and their ability to serve as a check on both Biden’s agenda and his ability to assemble a team of Cabinet picks and top-level officials throughout the federal government. Biden had waited to choose his attorney general until after the Georgia runoffs as he calibrates who can most easily win confirmation in the upper chamber. Now he can have far greater latitude in selecting his nominee for the nation’s top law enforcement official and many other positions in the new administration. The Democratic wins help smooth the way for two controversial nominees in particular: Xavier Becerra, California’s attorney general who was tapped to become Health and Human Services secretary, and Neera Tanden, the president of the liberal Center for American Progress, named to helm the Office of Management and Budget.
Flipping control of the Senate also ushers in a new era in Washington and a changing of the leadership guard. The Democratic wins in Georgia will deliver unified Democratic control in Washington for the first time in a decade and give Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York control over the chamber’s schedule and priorities. Schumer will be the first Jewish Senate majority leader while Warnock will be the first black Democratic senator from the South and Ossoff the first Jewish senator representing Georgia. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will turn 79 next month and may have little desire to continue leading his conference with a return to the minority.
“Buckle up!” Schumer tweeted triumphantly Wednesday morning. …
… Schumer and his Democratic caucus can now put a number of their longtime legislative priorities to a vote, including a minimum wage increase, universal background checks for gun ownership, Obamacare expansions and the lifting of Trump-era restrictions on illegal immigrants.