The United States Senate reconvened on Thursday, ushering in a new leadership but with partisan lines continuing to be drawn.
The new majority leader, New York’s Chuck Schumer appealed for Senate Republicans to help confirm Joe Biden’s Cabinet Secretaries.
“Traditionally, the Senate has confirmed several national security nominees for an incoming administration during their first few days,” he said “even as power changes hands from one administration to the other.”
“Foreign adversaries will seek to exploit this period of transition and we cannot allow America’s military, intelligence and national security policy to be disrupted by staffing delays,” Schumer said from the Senate floor.
For the first time in more than a decade, Republicans are waking up to a Washington where Democrats control the White House and Congress, adjusting to an era of diminished power, deep uncertainty and internal feuding.
The shift to minority status is always difficult, prompting debates over who is to blame for losing the last election.
The Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell, insisted the Biden Administration on day one, “took several big steps in the wrong direction.”
McConnell decried the move to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, cancel the Keystone XL pipeline and put a hold on many Trump immigration policies.
“There’s still plenty of time for President Biden to remember that he does not owe his election to the far left,” McConnell said. “The president can and should refocus his administration on creating good paying American jobs, not sacrificing our people’s livelihoods to liberal symbolism.”