TagU.S. Senate

U.S. Senate approves resolution to reverse Trump-era methane rule and restore standards set by Obama administration

The U.S. Senate passed a resolution under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) on April 28 to block a rule made by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Sept. 2020. 

The final vote was 52-42, with three Republicans, Susan Collins (Maine), Lindsay Graham (S.C.), and Rob Portman (Ohio), voting in favor of the resolution. 49 Democrats voted in favor of the resolution. The following 6 senators did not vote: Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). 

The Congressional Review Act gives Congress a chance to review and reject any new regulatory rules created by federal administrative agencies. Both houses of Congress have to pass a resolution disapproving the EPA rule and President Biden would then have to sign that resolution into law to block the rule. Since the law’s creation in 1996, Congress has used the CRA to repeal 17 out of the more than 90,767 rules published in the Federal Register during that time.

The EPA rule went into effect on Sept. 14, 2020. According to the _Congressional Record_, Congress has 60 days from Feb. 3, 2021, to use the CRA to block regulatory activity taken near the end of the Trump administration. Rules published by the Trump administration after Aug. 21, 2020 fall within the CRA lookback window.

U.S. Representative Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) introduced a companion resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 26, 2021. 

To learn more about the Congressional Review Act (CRA), see here: https://ballotpedia.org/Congressional_Review_Act

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Link to the U.S. Senate Resolution:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-joint-resolution/14?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22heinrich+S.j.%22%5D%7D&s=1&r=1



Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) will not seek re-election in 2022

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) announced on March 8 that he would not run for re-election in 2022. First elected to the Senate in 2010, Blunt is the top Republican on the Committee on Rules and Administration and one of 20 members of Congress to sit on the Select Committee on Intelligence. He was last elected in 2016, defeating challenger Jason Kander (D), 49% to 46%.

Blunt is the fifth U.S. Senator to announce that he would not run for re-election in 2022, joining Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). Four U.S. Senators did not run for re-election in 2020—three Republicans and one Democrat. Three Republican U.S. Senators did not run for re-election in 2018.

Thirty-four U.S. Senate seats will be up for election next year. Republicans currently hold 20 of those seats, and Democrats hold 14.

The Senate is split 50-50, with 50 Republicans, 48 Democrats, and two independents who caucus with Democrats. Vice President Kamala Harris (D) has the tie-breaking vote, giving Democrats effective control of the chamber.

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Former Sen. David Perdue (Geo.) will not run for U.S. Senate in 2022

Former Sen. David Perdue (R), who lost to Jon Ossoff (D) in the January runoff election for Senate in Georgia, announced he will not run for the state’s other Senate seat in 2022. Raphael Warnock (D), who defeated incumbent Kelly Loeffler (R) in the special runoff election in January, currently holds the seat. 

Georgia is one of eight 2022 Senate states that none of three independent race raters consider to be safely Democratic or Republican. Thirty-four seats are up for election next year. Georgia’s seat is one of four that flipped the last time these seats were up for election. 

Warnock defeated Loeffler by 2.1 percentage points in January. Prior to the runoff, 20 candidates were on the special November election ballot. Warnock received 33% of the vote to Loeffler’s 26%. Doug Collins (R) placed third with 20% of the vote. The six Republican candidates combined received 49.4% of the vote to the eight Democratic candidates’ combined 48.4% in the November election. 

Both Loeffler and Collins are considering running for Senate again in 2022.

Other potential battlegrounds in 2022 are Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Republicans and Democrats each currently hold four battleground seats. In Pennsylvania and North Carolina, Republican incumbents are not seeking re-election. Along with Georgia’s Senate seat, Democrats flipped New Hampshire’s and Nevada’s seats the last time they were up for election.

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Senate expected to confirm at least two Biden Cabinet nominees this week

Senate confirmation votes are expected this week for two of President Joe Biden’s (D) Cabinet nominees: Tom Vilsack for secretary of agriculture on Feb. 23 and Linda Thomas-Greenfield for ambassador to the United Nations by Feb. 24.

Vilsack previously served as the secretary of agriculture for eight years in the Obama administration. He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 2009.

Thomas-Greenfield is a veteran diplomat who served in the U.S. Foreign Service for three decades. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced her nomination by a vote of 18-4.

Seven members Biden’s 23 member Cabinet have been confirmed:

  • Tony Blinken, secretary of state
  • Janet Yellen, secretary of the Treasury
  • Lloyd Austin, secretary of defense
  • Pete Buttigieg, secretary of transportation
  • Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of homeland security
  • Denis McDonough, secretary of veterans affairs
  • Avril Haines, director of national intelligence

The following chart compares the pace of Senate confirmations for the main Cabinet members—the 15 agency heads in the presidential line of succession—following the inaugurations of President Donald Trump (R) and Biden. It does not include Cabinet-rank officials that vary by administration.

Nearly five weeks after their respective inaugurations, nine of Trump’s secretaries had been confirmed compared to six for Biden.



Analyzing partisan splits in states holding U.S. Senate elections in 2022

Thirty-four Senate seats are up for election on November 8, 2022. Republicans currently hold 20 and Democrats hold 14. 

For seats up for election next year, we look at party differences between the current Senate incumbent and their state’s other senator, their state’s governor, and their state’s 2020 presidential winner.

Split Senate delegations

Seven states have senators from different parties in the 117th Senate: Maine, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. This is the fewest number of states with split Senate delegations in history, according to Eric Ostermeier of the University of Minnesota.

Four of the seven states with split delegations in 2021 have Senate seats up for election in 2022. Vermont has one Democratic senator and one independent senator who caucuses with Democrats, so three states with seats up for election have senators in different caucuses: Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In all three, the seats up for election in 2022 are currently held by Republicans.

Senator’s vs. governor’s party

Eleven seats up for election are currently held by a senator of a different party than the state’s governor. Six seats held by Republican senators in states with Democratic governors are up. Five seats held by Democratic senators in states with Republican governors are up.

States won by presidential candidate of a different party

Democrats are not defending any Senate seats in states Donald Trump won in the 2020 presidential election. Republicans are defending two Senate seats in states Joe Biden won: Pennsylvania (held by Sen. Pat Toomey) and Wisconsin (held by Sen. Ron Johnson).

• In Pennsylvania, Biden defeated Trump (R) 50.0%-48.8%.

• In Wisconsin, Biden defeated Trump 49.5%-48.8%.

For additional information on the 2022 Senate elections, including outside race ratings and a full list of seats up for election, click below.

https://ballotpedia.org/United_States_Senate_elections,_2022

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U.S. Senate acquits former President Trump of incitement of insurrection

The U.S. Senate acquitted President Donald Trump (R) of incitement of insurrection on Feb. 13. All 50 Democrats and seven Republicans voted guilty. The other 43 Republicans voted not guilty. The seven Republicans to vote guilty were:

◦ Richard Burr (R-N.C.)

◦ Bill Cassidy (R-La.)

◦ Susan Collins (R-Maine)

◦ Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)

◦ Mitt Romney (R-Utah)

◦ Ben Sasse (R-Neb.)

◦ Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)

Trump is the only president to be impeached twice by the House. Trump was previously acquitted of abuse of power by a vote of 52-48 and obstruction of Congress by a vote of 53-47 on Feb. 5, 2020.



71 new members of Congress elected in 2020 election

Seventy-one new members were elected to the 117th U.S. Congress on Nov. 3, 2020, or in subsequent runoff elections: nine new senators and 62 new representatives. This includes Rep.-elect Luke Letlow (R-La.), who died from complications related to COVID-19 on Dec. 29.

The last race was called on Feb. 8, when the New York Board of Elections voted to certify the results of New York’s 22nd Congressional District election after months of legal challenges.

Five senators — one Democrat and four Republicans — were defeated by candidates of the opposing party. Thirteen members of the U.S. House, all Democrats, were defeated by Republican challengers.

All 435 U.S. House seats and 35 of the 100 U.S. Senate seats were up for election in 2020. In 53 of the 470 seats up for election — four in the Senate and 49 in the House — a non-incumbent was guaranteed to be elected. Republicans held 38 of those seats, Democrats held 14, and a Libertarian held one.

In the Senate, the four open seats were held by three retiring Republicans and one retiring Democrat. In the House, the 49 open seats were held by 35 Republicans, 13 Democrats, and one Libertarian. Thirty-six seats were open because the incumbent did not seek re-election. This included 26 Republicans, nine Democrats, and one Libertarian. Eight seats — held by five Republicans and three Democrats — were open because the incumbent was defeated in a primary or convention. Five seats were vacant, including the one Democratic seat left open by Rep. John Lewis’ (D-Ga.) death and four Republican seats left open by resignations and appointments.

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Sen. Richard Shelby (Ala.) will not seek re-election in 2022

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) announced on February 8, 2021, that he will not seek re-election in 2022. Shelby was first elected to the Senate in 1986. He switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in 1994. 

Shelby is the fourth senator to announce he won’t seek re-election in 2022, joining Republicans Richard Burr (N.C.), Rob Portman (Ohio), and Pat Toomey (Penn.). During the 2020 election cycle, four senators did not seek re-election.

Thirty-four seats will be up for election next year. Republicans currently hold 20 of those seats and Democrats hold 14. 

The Senate is split 50-50, with 50 Republicans, 48 Democrats, and two independents who caucus with Democrats. Vice President Kamala Harris (D) has the tie-breaking vote, giving Democrats effective control of the chamber.  

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An early look at the 2022 Senate elections

On November 8, 2022, 34 Senate seats will be up for election. These elections—along with any vacancies, special elections, or appointments that may occur in the meantime—will determine whether the Senate maintains a 50-50 partisan split with effective Democratic control, Democrats strengthen their majority, or Republicans take control of the chamber.

Of the 34 Senate seats up for election in 2022, Republicans currently hold 20 and Democrats hold 14. 

Democrats are not defending any Senate seats in states Donald Trump won in the 2020 presidential election. Republicans are defending two Senate seats in states Joe Biden won: Pennsylvania (held by Sen. Pat Toomey) and Wisconsin (held by Sen. Ron Johnson).

• In Pennsylvania, Biden defeated Trump (R) 50.0%-48.8%.

• In Wisconsin, Biden defeated Trump 49.5%-48.8%.

*Early race ratings*

Outlets including The Cook Political Report, Inside Elections, and Sabato’s Crystal Ball. Have released early race ratings. The outlets agreed in their ratings of 15 races as Safe/Solid Republican and 10 as Safe/Solid Democratic. The nine elections with more competitive ratings from two or more outlets are:

Toss-up or Democratic advantage

• Arizona

• Georgia

• New Hampshire

• Nevada

(Toss-up or Republican advantage)

• Florida

• North Carolina

• Ohio

• Pennsylvania

• Wisconsin

Four of the seats up for election in 2022 changed party hands the last time they were up for election. In 2020-2021, Democrats picked up Senate seats in special elections in Georgia and Arizona. In 2016, Democrats picked up Senate seats in Illinois and New Hampshire.

The last time these Senate seats were up for election, seven were won by a margin of fewer than 5 percentage points.

• In Wisconsin, Ron Johnson (R) won by 3.4 percentage points in 2016.

• In Missouri, Roy Blunt (R) won by 2.8 percentage points in 2016.

• In Arizona, Mark Kelly (D) defeated incumbent Martha McSally (R) by 2.4 percentage points in the 2020 special election.

• In Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto (D) won by 2.4 percentage points in 2016.

• In Georgia, Raphael Warnock (D) defeated incumbent Kelly Loeffler (R) by 2.1 percentage points in the special runoff election last month.

• In Pennsylvania, Pat Toomey (R) won by 1.5 percentage points in 2016.

• In New Hampshire, Maggie Hassan (D) defeated incumbent Kelly Ayotte (R) by 0.1 percentage point in 2016.

Three incumbents have announced they are not seeking re-election: North Carolina’s Richard Burr (R), Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey (R), and Ohio’s Rob Portman (R). 

Click below to follow along with the latest on 2022’s Senate elections.

https://ballotpedia.org/United_States_Senate_elections,_2022

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Portman becomes fourth senator to announce he won’t seek re-election in 2022

On Jan. 25, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced that he would not seek another six-year term in the Senate when his term expires in 2022.

In his statement announcing his decision, Portman said, “I am really looking forward to being home in Ohio full time, seeing family and friends more, and getting back to the private sector, including being able to be more involved in the community and in our family business. And I plan to stay involved in public policy issues.”

Portman was first elected to the Senate on Nov. 2, 2010. Prior to serving in the U.S. Senate, Portman served multiple roles in President George H.W. Bush’s (R) administration, represented Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House from 1993 to 2005, and served as U.S. Trade Representative and later as Director of the Office of Management and Budget in Bush’s administration.

As of January 2021, three incumbent U.S. Senators have also announced they will not be running for re-election in 2022: Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).

Between 2011 and July 2020, Ballotpedia tracked 243 retirement announcements from members of the U.S. House and Senate. January had seen the highest number of retirement announcements of any month at 45. Thirty-one of those took place during election years and 14 during odd-number years. During odd-number years, when no regular congressional elections were held, the highest number of retirements—24—had been announced in November.

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