President-elect Donald Trump will get a quick lesson in the ways of Washington when he tries to scrap Obamacare and runs into one major obstacle: 48 Democrats in the U.S. Senate.
Armed with the filibuster, Senate Democrats will still be in prime position to deny Republicans the 60-vote majority they need to advance any significant legislation.
It’s a power Democrats are sure to use often, but who will be calling the shots as part of their leadership team is an open question.
With a vote expected next week, all eyes are on Washington state Sen. Patty Murray, who won a fifth term on Tuesday.
With a vote expected next week, Washington state Sen. Patty Murray has yet to disclose whether she’ll ignite a fight among Democrats by challenging Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin for her party’s No. 2 leadership spot
Murray, 66, has yet to disclose whether she’ll ignite a fight among Democrats by challenging Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin for the No. 2 leadership spot, behind New York Sen. Chuck Schumer. He’ll replace the current minority leader, Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, who’s retiring at the end of the year.
This week Murray has been busy testing the waters, making phone calls to her colleagues.
“Senator Murray is looking forward to continuing her work in Democratic leadership next Congress under Senator Schumer,” Murray’s spokesman, Eli Zupnick, said in a statement. “She is having conversations with Senator Schumer and others about what the Democratic leadership team should look like and where she can best contribute from.”
Zupnick said Friday that while Murray has not ruled out a challenge to Durbin, “she is focused more on where she can do the best and most effective work for Washington state families.”
She is having conversations with Senator Schumer and others about what the Democratic leadership team should look like and where she can best contribute from.
Eli Zupnick, spokesman for Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.
Democrats have much to sort out before their vote.
After defeating Republican Chris Vance in Tuesday’s election, Murray’s also in line to keep her post as the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, though she could have a shot at becoming the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Washington state’s junior senator, Maria Cantwell, will be the top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in the new Congress. She’ll be up for re-election in 2018.