Many people think that because Democrats won the two Georgia seats after taking the White House, the 50-50 splitting the Senate (50-50 + Kamala Harris as the tie-breaker) means everything's going to be fine. Banish that thought. First of all, several Democrats are virulently anti-progressive. The 5 worst with their ProgressivePunch life-time crucial vote scores-- and that doesn't count tp horrible reactionaries that just got elected, Mark Kelly (AZ) and Frackenlooper (CO):
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ)- 47.42
Joe Manchin (WV)- 53.46
Angus King (ME)- 65.83
Mark Warner (VA)- 69.37
Tom Carper (DE)- 70.09
None of these senators can be depended on to vote with the Democrats on big economic issues. I guarantee you that Sinema will make a point early on about her "independence" but screwing something up badly. It's who she is. Manchin has already said he will vote against the $1,400 survival checks. Expect plenty of this from these 5 creeps.
And there's more. Yesterday, John Bresnahan, Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman ran down how this 50-50 Senate works. First of all, the committees are split 50-50. No advantage for either party. McConnell and Schumer are trying to work out an agreement that they can unveil next week. Bresnahan, Palmer and Sherman predict that the committees "will frequently deadlock as Democrats try to advance their legislative priorities and nominations to the floor. McConnell and Schumer are using a bipartisan 2001 deal as a template for their discussions. That agreement-- cut by then Sens. Trent Lott (R-MS) and Tom Daschle (D-SD)-- allowed nominations and legislation to move out of committee and to the floor in the event of a tie vote. But, in 2001, Dick Cheney was serving as vice president, so Republicans had the majority. This time, Harris will give Democrats the upper hand" IF McConnell agrees to this same deal.
In fact, our 3 writers point out that "McConnell has a slight edge in these talks because of changes to the Senate rules governing nominations and the filibuster since 2001. Whatever agreement the two Senate leaders reach will have a major impact on public policy and Joe Biden’s presidency... Schumer will take over as majority leader after Harris is sworn in as vice president on Wednesday and Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Alex Padilla of California join the Senate. They may be sworn in as early as next week, as well."
Meanwhile, the Republicans are chugging right along with their determination of sabotaging Biden (and the U.S.). Much of it is so blatant you can't miss it. Like Pompeo's State Department doing everything it can to shit up foreign policy. Reporting for PBS yesterday, Nick Schifrin wrote that the Biden team is starting to call them out for sabotage. "In the last week, the State Department announced significant policies on Yemen, Cuba, Taiwan and Iran that senior Trump administration officials insist they have been pushing for months, if not years, but that critics label as motivated more by politics than policy. The administration’s most controversial recent announcement is the designation of Houthi rebels in Yemen as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, over the objections of humanitarians, who say the designation reduces the ability to provide assistance to Yemeni civilians already caught in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis... [O]n Jan. 14, David Beasley, the director of the World Food Program and the former Republican governor of South Carolina, criticized the designation during a Security Council briefing. 'It is going to be catastrophic. It is literally going to be a death sentence to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of innocent people in Yemen,' said Beasley, who remains close to senior Trump administration officials. 'It needs to be reevaluated, and it needs to be reversed.'"
Up until now, Biden transition officials had shied away from publicly criticizing recent policy changes, but in an exclusive conversation with the PBS NewsHour, a transition official detailed a number of issues with the outgoing administration’s approach, singling out Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in particular.
“We will manage this, but it does start, at some point, to feel like sabotage. Not only do they know we don’t want to implement some of these approaches; they don’t even want to implement them,” a transition official said. “Which is why they’re doing them now, rather than at any other point in the previous four years.”
...On Cuba, the Trump administration has spent much of the last four years reversing President Barack Obama’s 2016 decision to normalize relations, leading up to an announcement on Jan. 11 that Cuba was once again designated a state sponsor of terrorism. The State Department’s designation accused Cuba of harboring U.S. and Colombian fugitives, including members of the National Liberation Army (ELN), which the U.S. calls a Foreign Terrorist Organization, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. It also highlighted Cuba’s support of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. “With this action, we will once again hold Cuba’s government accountable and send a clear message: the Castro regime must end its support for international terrorism and subversion of U.S. justice,” the declaration read. Independent experts say it will be complicated for the Biden team to undo the designation legally, because the designation triggers automatic penalties. It may also be difficult, politically, because any reversal would give opponents to normalization with Cuba an issue around which to rally.
The Biden transition official declined to comment on the designation, but former Trump administration officials questioned the timing. Juan Cruz, the Trump administration’s former senior director for the Western Hemisphere on the national security council staff, told the NewsHour the announcement would hinder Biden’s likely efforts to improve relations with Cuba. “This is absolutely a spoiler. Somebody peed in the punch bowl,” Cruz said. “The determination to put them on the list probably made it easier to frame the facts to build that case.”