Democrats now hold 50 votes in the Senate – breathing a whole lot of life into the Harris/Biden administration’s health care plans.
Adding Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to the Senate means that suddenly Republicans’ threats to block HHS nominee Xavier Becerra from confirmation over his abortion rights record don’t mean much of anything.
And that would go doubly for Neera Tanden, the Office of Management and Budget pick whose nomination many Republicans (and quietly, several Democrats) deemed dead on arrival just a few weeks ago.
Instead, they’d only need to convince 50 Democrats to back them.
It’s a process that a newly Democratic-controlled Senate will be eager to speed along.
Dems also get the gavels.
Sen. Patty Murray – who has spent months advocating for a stronger federal Covid response – is in line to lead the HELP Committee if Democrats take power.
And Sen. Ron Wyden is poised to run the powerful Finance Committee, where he’s been central to the push for sweeping drug pricing legislation.
It ratchets up expectations for Biden’s legislative agenda too.
The president-elect would be able to pursue major legislation through reconciliation – the same process Republicans used in trying (and failing) to repeal Obamacare, and that Biden could conceivably lean on to further expand the health law.
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