It is because while Senator McConnell agreed last week to the language of the organizing resolution for the Senate – currently doing business as the “rules package” – it has not actually been voted on. Which led to this embarrassing exchange by Senator Durbin, who is supposed to be both the Senate Majority Whip and the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senator Graham who is still the Senate Judiciary Chair.
There is no excuse for Senate Judiciary Republicans to delay Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to be the next Attorney General.
I’m calling on Sen. Graham—who is still Chair of the Committee even though his party is in the minority—to end this delay & schedule this hearing now. pic.twitter.com/k0Txqir4ri
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) February 1, 2021
Justice Barrett wasn’t given a free pass on a routine 4-day hearing during her Supreme Court confirmation, and Judge Garland shouldn’t get one either on his nomination for Attorney General.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) February 2, 2021
Why exactly is the Senate still in bizarro world? Me not allowed to explain*:
We’re in this mess because while Senator McConnell stopped objecting to the language in the organizing resolution because, according to him, both Senators Manchin and Sinema personally assured him they’d never vote to get rid of the filibuster for legislation. That all signs good. Manchin and Sinema personally assured him, he no longer objects to the language for the organizing resolution, the Democrats actually get to take control as the majority. And that’s also how it was reported. In every major news outlet and by every political reporter and by every commentator. But that’s not actually what is happening.
In order for the organizing resolution to pass one of two things has to happen. Either it is adopted by unanimous consent or it has to first pass the 60 vote threshold for cloture (the modern filibuster) and then pass the 51 vote simple majority to take effect. I’m sure by now you’ve all figured out that it was not adopted by unanimous consent. Which means it has to be calendared for a cloture vote and if, and only if, it gets 60 or more votes will it then be allowed to be calendared for a 51 vote simple majority vote. Until or unless that happens, Senator Schumer and the Democrats control the Senate floor and the calendar, but that’s it. All the committees maintain their Republican chairs and their Republican majorities under the previous and still in effect organizing resolution.
I’ve seen some reporting indicating that the organizing resolution for the now ongoing current Senate is supposed to be brought up on the floor of the Senate tomorrow. I’ve also seen other reporting that no agreement has been reached on when it will be brought up for a vote. Anyone want to put down money that whenever it does come up for a vote, at least 10 Republicans will vote with the 50 Democrats for cloture? I didn’t think so. If McConnell can keep the organizational resolution in limbo by refusing unanimous consent for it and then not freeing up 10 of his Republican senators to overcome the 60 vote cloture threshold, he’ll maintain defacto status as majority leader through the Republican committee chairs and Republican committee majorities through January 2023. Which is exactly what he wants to do. His strategy now, just as it was beginning in January 2009 in regard to President Obama, is to grind the Senate to a halt; allowing nothing to pass with Republican votes. His objective is too once again retake the Senate majority by making it impossible for the Democratic majority to accomplish anything and thereby make it impossible for President Biden to accomplish anything. And he knows he has a very good chance because the media would far prefer to cover anything other than process, which is boring, or McConnell, because he makes himself boring.
* For those who are not fans of Superman and his defective clone Bizarro, that’s Bizarro speak for “allow me to explain”.