After a weeklong battle demanding to have the right to stall legislation even when he’s no longer the Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell announced Monday that he will allow the 50-50 Senate to officially organize so Democrats can take control of key committees in the chamber, dropping his standoff with Senate Majority leader Chuch Schumer.
McConnell was looking for a way to be able to stymie the Senate committee process indefinitely. But his gambit failed as Schumer for days has rejected the GOP leader’s demands, saying Monday afternoon: “We are not letting McConnell dictate how the Senate operates.”
In his decision, McConnell pointed to recent comments made by two Democratic senators about their long-standing opposition to gutting the filibuster as sufficient to ease his concerns.
“With these assurances, I look forward to moving ahead with a power-sharing agreement modeled on that precedent,” the Kentucky Republican said.
Yet McConnell didn’t receive any written assurances from Democrats that they would never touch the filibuster, and Schumer’s office argued that the GOP leader got little from the stalemate.
“We’re glad Senator McConnell threw in the towel and gave up on his ridiculous demand,” said Schumer spokesman Justin Goodman, according to CNN.
The power-sharing deal had been stuck for days after McConnell demanded that Democrats affirm that they will not dismantle the filibuster, the key stalling tactic that requires 60 votes to overcome in order to advance bills. Without McConnell’s consent, Democrats were unable to get the votes to pass a power-sharing resolution without changing Senate rules.
The stalemate had prevented Senate committees from officially organizing, meaning Republicans still control key committees since the chamber is operating under the rules of the last Congress when the GOP was in charge.
Schumer demanded that the Senate agree to the 2001 rules during the last 50-50 Senate, when the chamber’s committees had equal representation of both parties, and tie votes on legislation and nominations would go to the floor. McConnell signaled Monday night he would agree to that as well.