McConnell ends standoff, paving way for Stabenow, Vilsack moves
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., late Monday announced he would agree to a Democratic takeover of the reins of power in the Senate, The Washington Post and The New York Times reported.
The Senate is composed of 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, but the Democrats control the body because Vice President Harris can provide the 51st vote for the Democrats.
McConnell had resisted a full Democratic takeover, including appointment of committee chairs, unless the Democrats promised not to try to end the filibuster.
But McConnell said he was ready to strike a deal after two Democratic senators — Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — publicly reiterated their opposition to eliminating the filibuster, the Post reported.
“With these assurances, I look forward to moving ahead with a power-sharing agreement modeled on that precedent,” McConnell said in a statement.
The deal should pave the way for Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., to become chair of the committee and make plans for a confirmation hearing for Tom Vilsack, the agriculture secretary in the Obama administration President Biden has asked to lead the department again.
While other committees still chaired by Republicans have held hearings on some Biden nominees, the Senate Agriculture Committee has appeared leaderless since Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., the chairman of the committee in the last Congress, retired.
Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., is expected to be the ranking member on the committeee.
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