How Much History Can One Democratic Senate Make On One Inauguration Day? Many History!
Yesterday was pretty neat, doncha think? We liked yesterday.
One moment you might have missed in all of the wonderful things that happened yesterday was
The Long Promised QAnon Storm when Vice President Kamala Harris went back to the Senate after she was sworn in. No, she didn't get lost or forget she got a new job. She was there to preside over the swearing-in of three new Democratic senators, all of whom made history.
Yes, the first Black, Asian-American woman vice president swore in:
- Alex Padilla, new senator from California, the first ever Latino senator from California, appointed to replace one Kamala Devi Harris, who is now vice president. This led to a cute moment we'll share you in a sec.
- Raphael Warnock, new senator from Georgia, the first ever Black senator from Georgia, who pastors the Ebenezer Baptist Church, which was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s church.
- Jon Ossoff, new senator from Georgie, the first ever Jewish senator from Georgia.
Because the Democratic senators from Georgia were sworn in (and honestly, we love saying "the Democratic senators from Georgia" almost as much as we love saying "the vice president and her husband"), Chuck Schumer officially took control as the new Senate majority leader, making history as the first Jewish Senate majority leader.
So, it was a day!
As we said, there was a cute moment with Vice President Harris before she administered the oath of office to those three. She was reading the certificates of election for the new senators, and had to say this with her mouth:
HARRIS: The chair lays before the Senate two certificates of election for the state of Georgia, and a certificate of appointment to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former Senator Kamala D. Harris of California.
She had to say her own name like she wasn't even there! And unlike some recent occupants of the West Wing, she doesn't usually do that! Of course it made her laugh, which made the Senate cheer and applaud her, and afterward, she, in a very vice presidential way, said, "Yeah, that was very weird, OK."
Just a very fun and happy moment. We admit we're going to have to relearn what it's like to write about those.
After that, the Senate got to work. President Biden finally has a member of his Cabinet confirmed, which he didn't before because it took Mitch McConnell's Senate so damn long to actually start taking up his nominations. Usually presidents are inaugurated with at least a good handful of their Cabinet ready to roll, but not this time.
Anyway, say hello to your new Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, who, unlike Donald Trump's DNIs, isn't merely a moron loyalist or a widely loathed internet troll. Hooray! She is also the first woman DNI in history. Double hooray! The vote was 84-10, and the senators who voted against Haines were un-American seditionists Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, plus some more of the Senate's stupidest, like Marsha Blackburn.
Part of the reason for the slow-rolling of Cabinet confirmations is that now-Majority Leader Schumer and now-Minority Leader Mitch McConnell haven't come to an agreement on how to share power in a 50-50 Senate. The most important thing, obviously, is that Democrats are officially in control, and the majority leader sets the schedule for votes and like such as. None of that is in question. But they have to figure out things like whether committees will have equal numbers of members from both parties, and until they do, the committees are apportioned the same as they were in the last Congress. The lack of an agreement also means new Democratic committee chairs don't have control of their committees yet.
CNN reports that Schumer wants things to be the same way they were in 2001, where each party has the same number of seats on committees, and in the case of a tie vote, it goes to the floor, because fuck you, Democrats are the boss.
Which seems fair to us.
The major sticking point from when Schumer and McConnell met on Tuesday is that reportedly Schumer refuses to promise Democrats will not gut the filibuster dead, which we wholeheartedly support. Unfortunately, not every Senate Democrat supports it, so Schumer may end up giving that up in exchange for something else. (Next time let's make a BIGGER majority in the Senate, how 'bout?)
Tuesday, the Senate held a total of five confirmation hearings. On top of the one for Haines at DNI, there was Anthony Blinken at State, Alejandro Mayorkas for Homeland Security, Janet Yellen for Treasury, and Lloyd Austin for Defense. Moron Republican Tom Cotton of Arkansas initially held up Haines's confirmation, but then caved. Seditionist insurgent Josh Hawley of Missouri is still holding up the nomination of Mayorkas, because of racist immigration policy reasons.
Hopefully we'll see confirmation votes for a couple of those by week's end, since even some Republican senators are saying it's kinda important to have confirmed nominees in such big important jobs involving national security. (Who knew!)
Today, the Senate will hold the confirmation hearing for Transportation secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg, and in other Senate business, oh yeah, we guess they're going to have to figure out how to start the second impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump, whose name sounds familiar but we forget, once House Speaker Nancy Pelosi formally transmits the article of impeachment over to the Senate.
Point is, it's a new day, but there is a hell of a lot going on, no rest for the weary, and there's still a bunch of annoying GOP shit to contend with because why wouldn't there be, the end.
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