The Democrats know that they are terrifyingly close to slipping out of control.
A single misfortune would undo them.
Chuck Schumer has one horrible fear of the future that keeps him up at night.
Democrats have a razor-thin edge in the Senate. In fact they need budget reconciliation and Kamala Harris to pass partisan bills without any Republican votes.
That means that if even a single elderly Democrat senator becomes ill or dies, it will hand over the chamber to Republicans who would force Democrats to stop their out-of-control spending.
Some Democrats think President Joe Biden’s agenda is “dangling by a thread.”
Almost every Congress had at least one member die while in office, many senators are advancing in age,and the median age of currently serving senators is 67 years.
Democrats are worried a single illness or death would change everything, according to The New York Times.
“Our ability to make good on Biden’s agenda is pretty much dangling by a thread,” Brian Fallon, an activist and former aide to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), told the Times. “I don’t think it’s uncouth to talk about it. I think it’s a reality that has to inform the urgency with which we approach those issues.
“Schumer needs all 50 votes,” Fallon said. “If somebody is laid up or is hospitalized for a long period of time and their vote’s not there, then having the majority is somewhat meaningless.”
Sarah Binder, George Washington University political scientist, said if Democrats lost the Senate, the result would be “devastating.” “There’s so much at stake for Democrats in losing control of one or both chambers midstream of a brand-new president with an ambitious agenda,” she said.
This is especially concerning given the health problems some senators are facing.
“Health problems have also dogged the Senate. Patrick Leahy, 81, Democrat of Vermont, was briefly hospitalized in January. Thom Tillis, 60, a North Carolina Republican, underwent cancer treatment. Questions have been raised about the health of Dianne Feinstein, 87, a Democrat who has represented California since 1992. Vermont’s other senator, Bernie Sanders, 79, had a heart attack in 2019,” the Times continued.
The fact that the chamber is currently evenly divided makes the possibility far more likely.
The Democrats have talked about eliminating the filibuster which makes it impossible to pass most legislation without at least 60 votes. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke out against eliminating the filibuster in March.
“They are arguing for a radically less stable and less consensus-driven system of government,” McConnell said. “Forget about enduring laws with broad support. Nothing in federal law would ever be settled. Does anyone really believe the American people were voting for an entirely new system of government by electing Joe Biden to the White House and a 50-50 Senate? This is 50-50 Senate. There was no mandate to completely transform America by the American people on November 3.”
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