Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer held a photo spray with the new Democratic senators that he called “the majority makers.”
Schumer touched upon several topics, including whether President Biden’s Defense Secretary nominee Lloyd Austin’s waiver will be voted on in the Senate today. Schumer said “it is passing the House, and I would like to get it passed in the Senate ASAP.”
The waiver is needed since Austin retired in 2016 but the law requires a defense secretary to wait seven years after active-duty service before taking the job.
Asked about the timing of the impeachment trial in the Senate Schumer said, “Speaker Pelosi will determine when she will send the articles over.”
“Leader McConnell and I are trying to come up with a bipartisan agreement on how to conduct the trial. But make no mistake about it. There will be a trial, there will be a vote up or down on whether to convict the president. I believe he should be convicted. And we’ll have to wait to she see when she sends the articles over to figure out how to do all that,” Schumer said.
On the Cabinet nominations still needed to happen, Schumer said, “we have the greatest health care crises in 100 years, the greatest economic crises and the national security of America is always at stake. To leave these seats vacant does a disservice to America.”
“We’re very pleased that last night we got bipartisan cooperation. We got bipartisan cooperation, so that April Haines is now the DNI. We’re hoping to get the same bipartisan cooperation for Treasury, State, Homeland Security and Defense, very soon. We need these position to go quickly. We need our Republican colleagues to cooperate,” he continued.
On whether that means the Senate will be in session tomorrow, Schumer said, “well we have to get these nominees approved, and we will do what it takes to do that.”
Schumer made clear that he is strongly opposed to changing the filibuster as part of his power-sharing agreement negotiations with McConnell.
“We believe, our caucus believes, that the fairest, easiest and most bipartisan way to come to an organizing resolution is to enact the 2001 agreement that Senators Lott and Daschle came to a bipartisan way back then. Our caucus is strongly opposed to any extraneous provisions. And so we’re going to keep working to try and get a bipartisan agreement,” Schumer said.