Democratic unity during the Trump era was one of Schumer’s successes, but it was much easier to achieve in the minority. In the majority, he will have to involve Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren with Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Over and over again, or Joe Biden’s agenda will quickly stall.
“What unites us is the desire to improve the lives of the American people. What divides us is the strategy, the tactics, ”said Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). Republicans, he said, are “divided not by ideology but by whether or not one supports the principle of democracy itself. And it seems like a more difficult caucus to manage.
Schumer spoke to Biden on Wednesday morning and said he made a commitment to the Biden administration to have a “partner” in the Senate Democratic caucus who will advance “bold change”. But he said he has yet to speak to GOP leader Mitch McConnell and that the two will have to put their bad blood aside to figure out how Senate control will work with the evenly divided chamber and a vice president. Kamala Harris breaking ties.
Schumer, who will be the first Jewish majority leader in the Senate, once had close relationships with key GOP senators such as John Cornyn of Texas and John Thune of South Dakota, sometimes serving as a rear negotiator before becoming Democratic leader . But Republicans are now preparing for Schumer to crush them.
Even Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who worked with Schumer in the Senate gymnasium and echoed many Democratic criticisms of Trump, lamented that Schumer was not “as good as Mitch McConnell would have been and was. “as the leader of the majority. Still, he said they enjoyed a great relationship.
One difference between Schumer and tight-lipped McConnell is that Schumer is in constant contact with his members, constantly calling them on his flip phone, which rang several times during Wednesday’s press conference. That won’t change, the allies say, and Schumer responded to Democrats’ calls all morning Wednesday. Schumer said he also spoke to Warnock and Ossoff on several occasions on Tuesday night from his home in Brooklyn as he followed the election.
But Democrats said they expected the Senate floor to be much different – and more active – than under McConnell, who prioritized judicial appointments and laws he could pass with votes to the majority. The Kentucky Republican has largely avoided major debates over immigration reform or infrastructure, which would require Democrats’ buy-in to secure the required supermajority requirement for most laws.
“I have a friend where you ask him how he’s doing, he always says, ‘Relative to what?’ So compared to our current leader, [Schumer] will be a big improvement, ”said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.). “He thinks that when bills are introduced we should have the opportunity to debate them and propose amendments. So it will be a change. “
It remains to be seen how far the party will go. Already, Manchin is calling for “a new era of two-party politics in Washington,” while others want Democrats to pass ambitious progressive proposals – and overturn Republicans, if necessary.
“Democrats must deliver,” said Sen. Warren (D-Mass.) In a recent interview. “There are things we can do without the Democratic Senate. But we can do a lot more if we are in a democratic Senate.
Warren has partnered with Schumer to push Biden to use his executive power to unilaterally cancel student loans, and Senate Democrats will determine whether to do the same on other issues. While killing the filibuster is unlikely, the party can pass major legislation through simple majority budget reconciliation. Trump’s tax cuts and the Affordable Care Act were passed by this maneuver.
Aid from Covid will be the number one priority, and Schumer said the Senate will focus specifically on approving the $ 2,000 stimulus checks, which Ossoff and Warnock have campaigned on. Schumer declined to say on Wednesday whether this would be a narrowly tailored bill like the House passed in December or the basis for a larger relief program.
But as he discovers his agenda and how to get Biden’s cabinet confirmed, the Senate map will always be on Schumer’s mind. In many ways, the top priority of a Senate Majority Leader is to remain Senate Majority Leader, and 2022 is shaping up to be an uphill battle for Senate control. Warnock will be in place for a full term, and a handful of swing states will see competitive races.
Some in Schumer want to see his reign take on a purple hue, even as Democrats regain full control of Washington for the first time in a decade.
“We need people who work across the aisle,” said Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Who is also running for re-election. “Sometimes we see a lot, sometimes we don’t. It is important to the future of our country that Democrats and Republicans work together to resolve these issues, whoever is responsible.