WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJHL) – Virginia Democratic Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine expect significant changes after Sen. Raphael Warnock’s projected win in Georgia’s runoff election.
“51 senators is dramatically different than 50,” Sen. Kaine told News Channel 11 in a press briefing from the senate recording studio. “If you have 50 senators, the committees have to be even-Stevens, which means on any matter of legislation, the minority party can block legislation from coming out of committee.”
Sen. Kaine expected most of the impact of an additional member to appear behind the scenes in the form of committee protocol and accelerated timelines for legislation.
“With a majority in the Senate, Democrats will have one more member on every committee than the Republican membership,” Sen. Kaine said. “And that will enable us to get legislation on the floor quicker, to get nominees on the floor quicker, and then once they’re on the floor it also enables for some quirky senate rules. You can actually get to the substance faster than if you have a tie-voting committee.”
Sen. Warner said the changed balance of power will free up Senate Democrats to vote on nominations to key positions abroad.
“We’re still working very hard, we don’t have an ambassador at this point to Brazil or India,” Warner said. “I’m the chairman of the India Caucus. That’s an embarrassment. By having a slight majority on these committees, that will make that process smoother.”
Both senators emphasized that the new majority won’t change their focus on bipartisan cooperation, citing milestone legislation that passed with Republican support.
News Channel 11 reached out to Sen. Marsha Blackburn for similar reactions but has not received a response.