Washington DC: President Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate is set to collide directly with President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. And there may be little anyone can do about it.
Only consent from the entire Senate will allow the chamber to create two tracks: One to confirm Biden’s Cabinet and pass his legislative agenda, and another for Trump’s impeachment trial.
“I’m all for accountability. But I want to make sure that we prioritize our business in a way that gets the Cabinet set and Covid relief legislation moving fast,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said, adding: “Especially after the events of the last week, it’s so critical that we get a Cabinet into place and we show the peaceful and efficient transition from one Cabinet to the next.”
Given that many Republicans oppose impeachment or think it’s not even constitutional once Trump has left office, it could be tough to get the cooperation Biden needs to handle a trial alongside Cabinet confirmations and begin work on a new coronavirus stimulus bill. Biden and Democrats say it’s critical to cut a deal that does both, but one single senator can disrupt any effort to multitask.
All that makes for an even higher degree of difficulty for Biden’s Cabinet and early legislative priorities to pass the Senate in his critical first few days in office.
“We are working with Republicans to try to find a path forward,” said a spokesperson for Sen. Chuck Schumer, who will become majority leader later this month once two new Democratic senators from Georgia are sworn in and Kamala Harris becomes vice president to break ties. Until then, however, Sen. Mitch McConnell is the majority leader.