If Republicans do indeed retain control of the U.S. Senate (which we’ll know when runoff elections for two Senate seats in Georgia are completed in early January), Mitch McConnell (R;KY) will keep his title as majority leader, and there are already reports that he’ll try to obstruct President-elect Biden at every turn:
“’Mitch McConnell will force Joe Biden to negotiate every single cabinet secretary, every single district court judge, every single U.S. attorney with him,’ said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). ‘My guess is we’ll have a constitutional crisis pretty immediately.’
“As (Biden’s) team contemplates potential Cabinet nominees, they are now facing a daunting question: How far will Senate Republicans go to derail Biden’s Cabinet picks?”
But Biden’s transition team has already anticipated McConnell’s plans to keep them from accomplishing anything, and they’ve found a way around McConnell, Senate Republicans, and any other GOP obstacles that may be put in their way, according to the Washington Post:
“Biden’s top advisers have spent months quietly working on how best to implement his agenda, with hundreds of transition officials preparing to get to work inside various federal agencies. They have assembled a book filled with his campaign commitments to help guide their early decisions.”
The best way to keep McConnell from gumming up the works is simple: Don’t do anything that requires Senate approval, and it turns out that includes just about everything from policy decisions to personnel:
“’The policy team, the transition policy teams, are focusing now very much on executive power,’ said a Biden ally who has been in touch with his team who, like others interviewed for this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. ‘I expect that to be freely used in a Biden administration at this point, if the Senate becomes a roadblock.'”
That’s right, the executive order will likely be used early and often, meaning Republicans won’t be able to do anything but sit back and watch as all sorts of issues — coronavirus, climate change, immigration — are addressed by the new administration in the first few weeks after Biden takes the oath of office, leaving them out in the cold and unable to do anything but carp and complain on Fox News.
“’Just by virtue of the calendar and how many positions are filled, that’s always a possibility,’ the person said. ‘Because the Senate moves so slowly now, so much more slowly than it used to.'”
So while Mitch McConnell may have all sorts of schemes and plans to make life miserable for the Biden administration, it appears he’ll be less able to obstruct progress than he would like. And that alone is reason for celebration.