Schumer and McConnell agree to organizing resolution for 50-50 Senate

The lack of an organizing resolution had created an unusual situation in the Senate, where Republicans still technically held committee gavels and were overseeing the confirmation process for President Joe Biden’s nominees, even though Democrats hold the majority. It also meant that new members of the Senate had not yet received their committee assignments. Schumer announced new committee assignments for Democrats on Tuesday.

McConnell initially asked that Senate Democrats commit to protecting the legislative filibuster as part of the agreement, which Schumer rejected. McConnell dropped that demand after Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) publicly reiterated that they did not support eliminating the 60-vote threshold.

The new agreement is expected to resemble the 2001 power sharing agreement between former Senate leaders Trent Lott and Tom Daschle. That pact also took weeks to negotiate. But unlike this year, the 2001 accord was reached before then-newly elected President George W. Bush officially took office and there was no change in party control of the chamber.

Senate Democrats did not win the majority until the Jan. 5 Georgia runoff races, when Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock won both Senate seats. Vice President Kamala Harris is the tie-breaking vote for Democrats.