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Mon Jan 18, 2021, 01:11 PM Jan 2021

When Exactly Do Democrats Take Control in Washington?

(Washington Post) Democrats have run the U.S. House of Representatives since the beginning of 2019. At noon on Wednesday, Joe Biden, a Democrat, becomes president. That means that once Democrats secure their ever-so-narrow majority in the Senate, they will control both the executive and legislative branches for the first time since 2011. Exactly when that happens involves multiple moving parts that may influence, among other things, when the House-approved impeachment article against outgoing President Donald Trump is sent to the Senate for a trial.

1. Who controls the Senate now?

Since Jan. 3, when the 117th Congress was sworn in, the Senate’s composition has been 51 Republicans, 46 Democrats and two independents who vote with Democrats. That’s why the top Senate Republican, Mitch McConnell, has remained majority leader. Since Georgia had two runoff elections on Jan. 5, one of that state’s Senate seats is temporarily vacant, and the other will be held for a few more days by Kelly Loeffler, a Republican. The two Democrats who triumphed in the runoffs, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, will be seated once that election result is certified.

2. When will Ossoff and Warnock be seated?

Georgia election officials expect to certify the results by end-of-day on Wednesday, the day of Biden’s inauguration. Ossoff and Warnock then must bring their certification papers to Washington to be sworn in. Such swearings-in often occur the day after state certification. The addition of Ossoff and Warnock would bring the Senate’s balance of power to an even split, 50-50. ..............(more)


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