The riot at the Capitol this week occurred during a momentous political power shift in Washington, as Congress certified the Electoral College’s votes confirming the incoming Biden-Harris Administration – and as the Jan. 5 Georgia runoff election determined the ruling party in the Senate.
- The Georgia election, won by Democratic candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, gives Democrats a razor-thin edge as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be able to cast tie-breaking votes in the Senate after she is sworn in Jan. 20
- The Democrats will control the White House, House and a Senate that will have no voting margin for defections. The 50-50 chamber will require close collaboration between Senate Democrats and the Biden Administration to advance legislative initiatives.
- With Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) as Majority Leader, moderate Democrats in the Senate will have a significant influence on advancing bills through committee and on final votes that Schumer allows to the Senate floor.
- Such a narrow policymaking path was addressed before in a “power sharing agreement” in the 2001 Senate, which also faced a 50-50 split. A 2006 Congressional Research Service report – “The Senate PowerSharing Agreement of the 107th Congress (2001-2003: Key Features” – reports the details of how committee processes and other procedures were finalized.
- Yet Democrats who effectively now control the Senate will also assume chairmanships of committees that consider issues of importance to real estate. Among them are the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, whose gavel will go to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), the panel's senior Democrat who served as chair six years ago.
- Other new Senate committee chairs include:
- Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Chair Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
- Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Joe Manchin (D-WV)
- Environment and Public Works Chair Tom Carper (D-DE)
- Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Gary Peters (D-MI)
- More details related to Senate and House leadership positions and their respective committees can be found on JDSupra’s “Welcome to the 117th Congress” (Jan. 8).
- Democrats are likely to advance additional COVID relief packages in close cooperation with the Biden Administration, including fiscal assistance for State and Local governments. Other policy issues expected to be addressed soon by Democrats include transportation and infrastructure funding.
- President-elect Joe Biden also said today, “I will introduce an immigration bill immediately” after he assumes office. (B-Gov, Jan. 8)
- The Roundtable and 12 national real estate organizations on Dec. 16 congratulated President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their historic election and submitted detailed policy recommendations to the incoming administration on COVID-19 relief, sustainability, housing, immigration, tax policy infrastructure, and other policy issue areas. (Roundtable Weekly, Dec. 18)
- The industry letter acknowledges the many economic and social challenges confronting the country as the Biden Administration prepares to take office, including the national response to COVID-19. The letter and supporting policy memo were also sent to every congressional office on Capitol Hill.
The Roundtable plans to debut its 2021 Policy Agenda during its upcoming State of the Industry Meeting that begins Jan. 26.
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