Are Republicans Now In Charge of the Senate?

Are Republicans Now In Charge of the Senate?

( – In January 2021, Democrats stunned conservative America. For two decades, Georgia was a reliably red state. Two far-left Democrats were running to unseat conservative US Senators from the Peach State. Shockingly, they forced a runoff election. What happened next led to the destructive reign of Democrats in 2021. Concerns over voter fraud and election integrity led many Republicans to stay home and not vote in the January 2021 runoff election. Both Democrats won and flipped the US Senate from Republicans to Democrats.

Despite the new Democratic majority, it wasn’t easy for Democrats to pass their semi-socialist agenda last year. The Senate is evenly deadlocked at 50/50, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tiebreaker. Slim majorities don’t allow for the passage of radical policies. Still, that didn’t stop Democrats from trying and ultimately failing. Now, the situation is more precarious. If something happens to one Senate Democrat, it will throw their slim majority into chaos.

Guess what… thats just happened. Now, Republicans hold a 50-49 advantage.

Does that mean they are currently in the majority?

Are Republicans In the Senate Majority?

The answer to that question is a bit tricky. It’s both yes and no. Recently, Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) experienced a stroke. He’s currently hospitalized, but his aides say the the senator should make a full recovery and be back to work in four to six weeks if he recovers as expected. The incident shows how precarious one senator’s presence or lack thereof can influence legislation or even the confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee.

On paper, the Democrats still hold the majority. Here’s where it gets interesting. Unlike in the House, Senate rules do not allow senators to vote by proxy. They must be on the floor of the Senate to cast a vote. While Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) still controls the floor, functionally, Republicans indirectly control the Senate agenda until Lujan returns to Washington.

One Democrat’s Absence Could Ruin Everything

Time is running out on Democrats. From April to August, states will begin holding primary elections. In March, debates will start. That leaves little more than three weeks for Senate Democrats to try to put together and pass a skinny Build Back Better package. Moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) says it’s dead, but House Democrats are still demanding action by the end of the month.

Without Lujan’s vote, it won’t matter much what House Democrats want. The Senate is at a legislative standstill without Republican support.

Making matters more complicated, Lujan’s absence also complicates President Joe Biden’s nomination of a Supreme Court nominee. Of course, it’s uncertain what timeline the White House is working on given that Justice Breyer isn’t formally retiring until after the current term expires in late June or July. So, the temporary setback might not matter much anyway.

What Lujan’s absence really does is remind Democrats of the limitations of their power. They got a rude awakening last fall and early in the winter when Sens. Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) rebuffed parts of Build Back Better (killing the bill) and the carving out of the filibuster to pass the Democrats sketchy voter rules legislation.

Happenstance is an odd thing in American history, especially in times of great division. If Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lived a few more months, former President Donald Trump wouldn’t have been able to nominate Amy Coney-Barrett to the Supreme Court ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Lujan’s situation demonstrates that not only is the Senate majority thinner than a hair, it may not take an election to flip the Senate.

So, while America hopes that Sen. Lujan recovers to full health, if he doesn’t, the clock will most certainly run out on the remainder of anything the Democrats may attempt to do the remainder of 2022.

Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst

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