There seems to be a bit of musical chairs going on in Congress with the Senate Republicans. Lindsey Graham had taken over as judiciary chairperson, a position previously held by Chuck Grassley. Graham has made announcements that the chairmanship will soon be in Grassley’s hands once again.
Graham had taken over the panel when Grassley chose to chair the Senate Finance Committee. When Grassley asked if he could come back following his tenure on the finance committee, it was an easy decision for Graham: “Absolutely.”
In the next Congress, the position will be Grassley’s once again. As Lindsey Graham explains, “That’s the way the Senate works.” The two senators have a working relationship that is based on mutual appreciation. The Senate doesn’t have the constant power feuds that the House has.
The Senate Republicans have an understanding that a committee is chaired by someone for six years in total. This causes quite a bit of musical chairs when senators reach their term limits within the different committees.
Grassley has seniority when it comes to the Judiciary Committee over Graham.
Of course, all of this is dependent on the Republicans maintaining the majority of the Senate in 2020 – something they all anticipate being able to do. There is also the hope that their fellow Republicans can win back a few seats in the House, making it possible to have a majority across Congress.
Sitting as the Judiciary chairman is not the easiest position. When Grassley was in it during the last Congress, he had to oversee the confirmations of such Supreme Court Justices as Brett Kavanagh and Neil Gorsuch, which were highly contested. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that Lindsey Graham is more than happy to hand over the seat to his good friend once again.
Imagine if this were the Democrats. There would be some cutthroat battle to see who would get to have the seat. There would be name-calling, hoaxes with the Russians brought into it, and AOC complaining on Twitter that it wasn’t fair. Graham and Grassley are perfect examples of what can be accomplished when politicians have mutual respect for one another. They’re happy to keep each other’s seats warm without any kind of hard feelings. The Dems have proven time and again that they’re incapable of doing that.
The current Congress is the 116th, which convened on January 3, 2019. The 117th Congress will take place in January of 2021, following the November 2020 elections. As for who is running and who will win, it’s still anyone’s guess. There are plenty of Republicans coming out of the woodwork in order to run so that they can work to get the majority back in the House. The Senate is well aware of what they need to do in order to maintain majority – and they don’t intend to let it slip through their fingers.
Much of it hangs in the balance of the impeachment inquiry. If the inquiry goes as many expect, Trump will remain in office and win the reelection campaign because the Dems will prove to the rest of America that they are, in fact, as shady as many Republicans have suspected. They’re going to show off that they cannot be trusted. As a result, more people are going to be switching to a Republican vote, making it easier to keep the majority in the Senate and potentially win back the majority in the House.
With so many Senators having quite a long tenure in Congress, it will be individuals like Grassley and Graham heading up the various committees. The good news is that they all know how to get along with each other. They’ll work with each other to ensure that everyone is in a committee where they are comfortable. If someone needs help, they’re willing to help each other because, as Graham has said, it’s how things work in the Senate.
Seeing the way that two grown men who work on Capitol Hill can get along with each other provides hope that the country isn’t the dumpster fire that it often appears to be. There has to be respect for one another and the ability to support each other’s decisions without constantly getting into a fight about it – and in particular, taking that fight onto social media. If more congressional leaders would simply talk things out like adults instead of fighting on Twitter, it would make it easier to tolerate the politics. Perhaps Grassley and Graham should give a lesson on how to be a member of Congress to the Dems next door in the House.