Schumer, McConnell reach deal on Senate organizing resolution

Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDOJ to probe Trump-era subpoenas of lawmaker records Democrats demand Barr, Sessions testify on Apple data subpoenas Out-of-touch Democrats running scared of progressives MORE (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWhy the Democrats need Joe Manchin Out-of-touch Democrats running scared of progressives The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Bipartisan group reaches infrastructure deal; many questions remain MORE (R-Ky.) have reached a deal on the organizing resolution for running a 50-50 Senate.

"I am happy to report ... that the leadership of both parties have finalized the organizing resolution for the Senate," Schumer announced from the Senate floor.

"We will pass the resolution through the Senate today, which means that committees can promptly set up and get to work with Democrats holding the gavels," Schumer added.


The deal is expected to largely mirror a 2001 agreement, the last time the Senate was evenly split, when bills and nominations were sent to the floor even when there were tie votes at the committee level.

The new agreement comes after the Senate has been stuck in limbo since Jan. 20, the day Democrats took over the chamber's majority.

Though Democrats have controlled the floor, Republicans still wielded power in Senate committees because the chamber hadn't passed a new organizing resolution for the 117th Congress.

That resulted in some awkward dynamics over the past two weeks, including Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinTrump DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says Overnight Defense: Pentagon details military construction projects getting .2B restored from wall funds | Biden chooses former commander to lead Navy | Bill seeks to boost visa program for Afghans who helped US Senate bill would add visas, remove hurdles to program for Afghans who helped US MORE (D-Ill.), the incoming Judiciary Committee chairman, publicly asking Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP senators applaud Biden for global vaccine donation plans Lindsey Graham: Dismissal of Wuhan lab leak theory cost Trump 2020 election Tim Scott: Could be 'very hard' to reach police reform deal by June deadline MORE (R-S.C.), who was still chairman because the Senate was functioning under last year's organizing resolution, to hold a hearing for Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandGarland vows fight against voting limits that violate law House Democrats push Garland for immigration court reforms Jeff Hauser: MacBride nomination is a return to administrations that ended 'rule-of-law' and 'rich-person accountability' MORE, President Biden's attorney general nominee. Graham denied that request, blaming the upcoming impeachment trial of former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says Putin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE.

"They could set the hearing and, unfortunately, I'm not officially the chairman of the committee. You know, we are in the majority because of the vote with the vice president, so I had to contact the chairman from the previous Congress, Sen. Graham, who's to be succeeded by Sen. [Chuck] Grassley, another Republican. It's a very complicated situation," Durbin told reporters.


Sen. John BoozmanJohn Nichols BoozmanSenate GOP opens door to earmarks Arkansas governor quietly bucking GOP's dive into culture wars Trump allies line up ahead of potentially bruising primaries MORE (R-Ark.) said at a Tuesday hearing for Tom VilsackTom VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE, Biden's pick to be Agriculture secretary, that "the committee has no official chairman at the moment."

"This hearing is a little bit different," Boozman said.

Senators had speculated since late last week that Schumer and McConnell were close to an agreement, but a final deal remained elusive among last-minute hang ups.

"Look, it was set back when Leader McConnell made an extraneous demand trying to tell our caucus how to run things when we're in the majority. But we're making progress and we're getting close," Schumer told reporters Tuesday when asked about the organizing resolution.

The power-sharing deal was up in the air for days after McConnell demanded that the resolution include protections against nixing the 60-vote legislative filibuster, as progressive activists and a growing number of senators support going "nuclear."


McConnell's effort frustrated Democrats, who viewed it as an attempt to box them in and believed that the GOP leader wouldn't have agreed to the same restriction if he was still in the majority.

McConnell ultimately dropped his insistence on a formal agreement after two Democratic senators — Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinWhy the Democrats need Joe Manchin Simmering Democratic tensions show signs of boiling over Out-of-touch Democrats running scared of progressives MORE (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) — both reiterated that they oppose nixing the legislative filibuster.

"The senior senator from Arizona made the same commitment. She opposes ending the legislative filibuster. ... Our colleague informed me directly last night that under no circumstances would she reverse course," McConnell said last week.

Updated at 10:23 a.m.