A foolish consistency is said to be the hobgoblin of little minds, but what about a wise consistency? The Senate may soon be the testing ground for that question. Rather than re-invent the wheel, Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer appear close to proposing the same power-sharing compromise that existed — briefly — the last time the Senate got split 50/50.
Essentially, it boils down to equality in committee seats and staffs, but the White House’s party in charge. That’s neither foolish or particularly wise, but it is realistic:
The top two Senate leaders are nearing a power-sharing agreement to hash out how the evenly divided chamber will operate, with Democrats in charge of setting the schedule but both parties likely to hold an equal number of seats on Senate committees, according to sources familiar with the talks.
The negotiations between Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell have been built largely around how the Senate operated the last time the body was split 50-50: When George W. Bush initially became president in 2001. Final details are still being sorted out between the two leaders, sources said.
Similar to those rules, set in January 2001, Schumer and McConnell aides are discussing allowing bills and nominations to advance to the Senate floor even if they are tied during committee votes, something that could become common given that each party is expected to have the same number of seats on committees.
Democrats will hold the chairmanships of the committees, giving them power to set the agenda, and Schumer will be granted the title of majority leader since Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will cast tiebreaking votes on the floor.