n Jan. 5, Georgians went to the polls to decide both Senate seats in runoff elections. Democrats Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Osoff both won seats in the Senate, giving Democrats control of the US Senate (as ties will be broken by Vice President Kamala Harris.) With control of the Presidency, the Senate, and the House of Representatives, Democrats have a trifecta. This allows them to pass legislation and confirm judicial and Cabinet positions more easily.
However, with a razor-thin majority in the Senate, Democratic leaders face a new obstacle in accomplishing their legislative goals -- moderate senators. One senator especially stands out; Joe Manchin. According to fivethirtyeight.com, a political analysis site, Manchin voted with President Trump the most of all Democratic senators still in office. For Democrats seeking to pass more controversial legislation, Sen. Manchin’s vote will be essential. Other moderate senators, both Democrats and Republicans, have the potential to also disrupt votes by voting against their party. These also include senators Susan Collins (R), Kyrsten Sinema (D), Lisa Murkowski (R), Rand Paul (R), Mitt Romney (R) and Angus King (I).
The effect of these moderate senators is already being felt by the economy; many of these senators have expressed reluctance for passing another round of stimulus, and Sen. Joe Manchin has said that he would prioritize distribution of COVID-19 vaccines over stimulus checks. As President Biden’s term progresses, the votes of these senators will be closely watched as Biden seeks to achieve his legislative goals.
However, with the country increasingly divided, could these senators do more than just oppose specific legislation? Is it possible that moderate senators such as Joe Manchin could use their new power to foster compromise and unity? Washington might have just found new powerbrokers.
Photo Credit: The New York Times