In a few days, on ….
In a few days, on January 5, Georgia voters will cast ballots for their two new Senators and decide on the balance of power in the United States Senate and thus, Congress. As of the 2020 election and Democrats gaining one seat Republican Mitch McConnell controls the Senate with 50 Republicans and 48 Democrats (which includes two who vote with the Democrats). Thus the votes in Georgia will either give McConnell continuing control or, if Georgia elects two Democrats in their runoff, the power will shift to the Democrats in the Senate because the new Vice-President following the January 20 inauguration, Kamala Harris, is a Democrat and will cast any tie-breaking votes.
McConnell not only can control whether a bill passes or not, he can prevent a vote from even coming to the floor. He has done this in many cases. McConnell prevented a vote from even occurring on Merrick Garland’s nomination for more than nine months. In February 2020, he admitted there were 395 House bills sitting on his desk; he said, “We’re not going to pass those.” Most recently, on December 30, he said that Congress had given enough money to help people during the pandemic, and he would not bring the bill for $2000 payments to the floor. In other words, one man who was elected in Kentucky is controlling whether all elected members of the Senate can do the people’s work and vote on policy. [ Editor’s Note: Yes, that is how it works. While I am not a fan of McConnell or his policies, that is how it has always worked. Now, it is rare for a man in such a position to completely ignore his responsibilities in favor of currying favor with a handful of other poweful people, it is his right as Senate Majority Leader to do exactly that. And I guess that’s what the good people of Kentucky want, since they just elected him to another six- year term back in November. Like you say though, that could all change in just a couple of days, as the Georgia Senate runoff elections could shift power back to the Democrats. Of course, that comes with the truth that the Democrats will also have their own agenda, so it’s party politics as usual either way. And if you didn’t already know that, let me be among the first to welcome you to America!]