The Importance of the Senate Majority


Claire Rudinsky, Features Editor

After the election of Georgia Senators-elect Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, Mitch McConnell will be replaced by Democrat Chuck Schumer as Senate Majority Leader. Schumer will have control over the leaders of all 20 permanent committees and legislative priorities, which means that the Senate can address many of the concerns of the Democratic party including climate change, criminal justice reform, and spending allocations. 

In the past, Schumer has advocated for spending in scientific research—most recently, he has co-sponsored a bipartisan bill that would allocate an additional $100 billion to the National Science Foundation, completely modernizing and funding American innovation for years to come. The National Science Foundation is an independent agency that is responsible for non-medical science and technology related research. 

The potential chairs of key committees are already being speculated. Senator Patrick Leahy from Vermont is expected to be chosen for the Appropriations Committee, which decides the annual spending level. He has strongly advocated for environmental protection and regulation in the past, and could potentially play a large role in the Biden administration’s legislative ability. Senator Bernie Sanders has also been appointed as the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, and plans on taking an “aggressive” approach towards tackling the current economic problems facing America. This position allows Sanders to use reconciliation – a Congressional tool that does not require 60 votes to pass legislation. This tool might be used to pass the next stimulus bill. 

Additionally, Senator Thomas Carpenter from Delaware may lead the Environment Committee. He has written several legislative actions regarding global warming and is also a strong advocate for pollution laws. Several other committees that would be involved in climate change legislation also have potential chairs that have been strong advocates for green energy and technology in the past. 

The Democratic Party’s control of the White House, House of Representatives and the Senate allows greater ease to push their progressive legislative agenda. Action on criminal justice reform, climate change, the minimum wage and other issues are already being discussed.