by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Who would you rather have write the U.S. Senate’s next budget — Lindsey Graham or Bernie Sanders?
This is among the choices before Georgia’s voters on Tuesday. Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock respectively face incumbent Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in high-profile, high-stakes runoff elections for the U.S. Senate. These twin races will determine whether Republicans maintain a one- or two-seat majority in the upper legislative chamber or, if Ossoff and Warnock prevail, Democrats take control, along with holding the House of Representatives and White House.
If Democrats capture the Senate and make New York’s Chuck Schumer majority leader, they also will chair the Senate’s committees.
Both parties await the results before naming anyone to lead any panel. Also, a certain amount of musical chairs will ensue, as senators with seniority choose among multiple chairmanship opportunities. Still, news accounts and informed speculation allow plausible assumptions of who will run things, under continued Republican stewardship or a Democratic mandate.
Tuesday’s fork in the road could not offer two more distinct paths. Among ten top Senate committees, the average lifetime American Conservative Union rating for a potential GOP chairman is 87.41. Should current ranking Democrats become chairmen, their average ACU rating would be 5.66. This contrast is even starker than when I conducted this exercise in 2018: Those corresponding figures were 85.34 and 7.10.
If Republicans keep command, these committees will be marginally likelier than today’s to pursue conservative objectives of individual freedom, limited government, free enterprise, and peace through strength. If Democrats take power, however, Americans should brace for a jump to the left. Senate panels will become rocket engines for curbing liberty, swelling the state, shackling the economy, and appeasing America’s enemies.
If Republicans decide committees’ agendas, they most likely will investigate the deep-state genesis of the synthetic Russiagate non-scandal that hounded President Donald J. Trump for three excruciating years.