Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Monday that he will allow the 50-50 Senate to officially organize so Democrats can take control of key committees in the chamber after a weeklong battle with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer over the rights of the minority to stall legislation.
The breakthrough came as GOP leaders were eagerly looking for a way out of a potential crisis that would have stymied the Senate committee process indefinitely, after McConnell pointed to recent comments made by two Democratic senators about their long-standing opposition to gutting the filibuster as sufficient to ease his concerns.
Schumer for days had rejected the GOP leader’s demands, saying Monday afternoon:
“We are not letting McConnell dictate how the Senate operates.”
On Monday evening, McConnell relented after two moderate Democratic senators — who have long opposed gutting the filibuster — reiterated their views, allowing him to argue that they were sufficient to resolve his concerns since Democrats would lack the votes to change the rules.
“With these assurances, I look forward to moving ahead with a power-sharing agreement modeled on that precedent,” the Kentucky Republican said.
Yet McConnell didn’t receive any written assurances from Democrats that they would never touch the filibuster, and Schumer’s office argued that the GOP leader got little from the stalemate.