Biden’s potential first hurdle in office: a hostile US Senate | Daily News

Biden’s potential first hurdle in office: a hostile US Senate

When President-elect Joe Biden and Jill Biden step into the White House in January, he’ll also be bringing some furry family members with him — German shepherds Champ and Major. That’s right: After a four-year vacancy, there will be not one, but two FPOTUS (First Pets of the United States) once more.

When President-elect Joe Biden and Jill Biden step into the White House in January, he’ll also be bringing some furry family members with him — German shepherds Champ and Major. That’s right: After a four-year vacancy, there will be not one, but two FPOTUS (First Pets of the United States) once more.

US: Joe Biden’s ambitious Presidential plans -- including CCOVID-19 relief and climate action, not to mention naming a Cabinet -- rest largely on Congress, where a Senate under potential Republican control could throw a political spanner in the works.

Should Democrats fulfill the Herculean task of snatching two Senate seats in twin runoffs next January in traditionally conservative Georgia, they would flip the Chamber and provide Biden a considerably smoother path on multiple fronts.

But if the 77-year-old moderate begins his first term with a Democratic-led House and the Senate remaining in Republican hands, the opposition party, led by ruthless Senate tactician Mitch McConnell, would have the power to limit who the new president appoints to his Cabinet and what bills get to the President’s desk.

Positions like US Secretary of state, Pentagon Chief, and the Attorney General require Senate confirmation, as do federal judges and, notably, justices to the US Supreme Court.

An incoming commander-in-chief often enjoys a honeymoon period in which he can expend political capital on his nominees and top priorities.

But experts say Biden, who has decades of Washington experience, first as a US senator for 36 years and then eight years as Vice President, should prepare for a wake-up call if he bumps up against Republican intransigence in these polarized times.

A Republican-led Senate theoretically would be able to block any nominee Biden puts forward, but at least one Republican, Senator Lindsey Graham, expressed openness to finding “common ground” with Biden to get his inner circle confirmed.

“The Vice President deserves a Cabinet,” Graham told reporters Friday.

Getting major legislation passed could be a headache in a split Congress.

Biden’s first legislative test will be maneuvering a coronavirus rescue package onto his desk.McConnell refused to consider House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s $3 trillion behemoth, which cleared her chamber in May. It would have funded local government anti-pandemic efforts and sent unemployment payments to millions of Americans.

- AFP