(Washington) Between the impeachment trial of Donald Trump, negotiations to pass the ambitious Joe Biden program, and the difficulty of sharing power with Republicans in the Senate, Chuck Schumer faces the biggest challenge of his career to take over the new Democratic majority.
At the age of seventy, the Senator from Brooklyn, who likes to remember his humble origins by describing himself as “the son of an exterminator and housewife,” has promised Republicans to work with them “when and where they are. It will be possible.”
He was welcomed into his new role with kind words from his great rival, the powerful Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
“I want to congratulate my colleague from New York,” the latter launched on a bike Thursday, asserting that Chuck Schumer had become “the first Jewish Congressman to drive one of the two houses. A historic moment.”
But compliments should be short-lived.
After Donald Trump leaves the White House, Joe Biden’s new vice president, Kamala Harris, will have the power to determine a tie in the Senate, where 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans have sat since Wednesday.
While the new Democratic president wants to see the Senate speed up assurances from his cabinet members and call on Congress to adopt a giant $ 1900 billion economic stimulus plan as soon as possible, Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell are still negotiating the rules that should govern the new Senate.
There is, in fact, no doubt that the Democrat will rule alone with this narrow majority. In particular, the two leaders should decide how to pass bills and appointments to committees, as well as split them equally between Republicans and Democrats.
For Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, which begins on February 8, Chuck Schumer will have to convince 17 Republicans while keeping his forces united if he wants to convict the former president. It’s an almost impossible goal at a time when many Republicans are already asserting the stark contrast between this outrageous and historic measure and Joe Biden’s calls to rally.
“A rally can only happen if we get to the truth and hold them accountable,” said Chuck Schumer on the bike.
Behind all of these challenges, the new majority leader will also have to try to keep a unified Democratic group, from the highly progressive Bernie Sanders to the more conservative Joe Manschin, elected from the Republican West Virginia state.
” Difficult “
“It’s going to be a difficult period,” said moderate Republican Senator Susan Collins.
“With the Senate divided equally, the majority leader will have to make efforts to build coalitions between the two parties, but he is not known to do so,” she said Friday. She is one of several senators from both parties who, with Agence France-Presse, have predicted a complicated time for Mr. Schumer.
“He has no room for maneuver,” admits Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, a staunch ally of Donald Trump in Congress who sees intense negotiations coming to find compromises.
He said it was unlikely that the Republicans would support the massive stimulus package, “but I think we can come out with a smaller aid package.”
As for Joe Biden’s plan to regularize millions of illegal immigrants while reforming the immigration system, the chance of it being approved is very slim, Mr. Graham warned, while also contemplating a more restrictive agreement, limited to “dreamers,” the nearly 700,000 immigrants who arrived as undocumented children. United State.
He warned that, starting in 2022, Democrats will have to defend their very narrow majorities in the Senate, but also in the House of Representatives.
After the divisions of Trump’s mandate and the strong support he enjoyed in Congress, could Chuck Schumer lean towards Republican revenge?
“No, no,” Democratic Senator Robert Menendez told AFP. “We must use this opportunity” to advance the democratic program.