Tags: Jeffords' | Switch | Guarantee | for | Dems

Jeffords' Switch No Guarantee for Dems

Friday, 25 May 2001 12:00 AM

C-SPAN resident scholar Ilona Nickels says Jeffords' decision to become an Independent does not automatically precipitate a takeover by the Democrats, as the move is an unprecedented one and not specifically addressed in power-sharing agreement hammered out Jan. 5 by Sens. Trent Lott, R-Miss., and Tom Daschle, D-S.D.

At least for now, both sides seemed resigned to a Democrat takeover.

"I'm saying now that we're not going to drag this out. Some people say, 'Oh you might want to delay this.' No. This is bigger than who's in charge. We're going to do it, and we're going to do it Friday, or Saturday if it takes it," Lott, who has been the Senate's majority leader, said Thursday.

"We're going to have to meet with the Democrats and discuss, you know, the fair way to proceed in the future. We worked very hard, bent over backward, in my opinion, to come up with a power-sharing agreement in January, and we're going to expect the same treatment in return."

Daschle, who has been the Senate's minority leader, echoed Lott's sentiment. "I think it's important that we all recognize the value of compromise, the urgency of compromise and the real practicality of compromise.

"We can't dictate to them, nor can they dictate to us. This must be a bipartisan or tripartisan spirit, or it can't be achieved."

While the Senate's two main powerbrokers appear poised to negotiate a smooth transition toward a realigned Senate, Sen. Don Nickels, R-Okla., speculates that the power-sharing agreement forged by Lott and Daschle contains language that might lead to semantic wrangling over who is in control.

The agreement, Senate Resolution 8, "is standing authority for the duration of the 107th Congress unless one of the parties has attained 'a majority of the whole number of Senators,'" says Nickels. "If you take that literally, it is 51."

According to Nickels, if a party gets 51 seats the resolution stipulates that committee chairmanship flips automatically, and the committee ratios will change to reflect a clear majority on each committee. However, if no party has attained 51, there is no automatic cancellation of the resolution and "things remain as they are" until a new agreement is negotiated.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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C-SPAN resident scholar Ilona Nickels says Jeffords' decision to become an Independent does not automatically precipitate a takeover by the Democrats, as the move is an unprecedented one and not specifically addressed in power-sharing agreement hammered out Jan. 5 by Sens....
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2001-00-25
Friday, 25 May 2001 12:00 AM
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