Senate Announces Committee Leadership and Power Sharing Agreement


Senate reaches agreement and implements plan for tie votes after Democrats win in Georgia runoffs, creating a 50-50 committee split.

2/4/2021 12:00

U.S. Senate leaders reached an agreement to outline making decisions on Senate committees, which have a 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans after the Georgia runoff elections Jan. 5.

Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock won in the Georgia elections, solidifying the 50-50 party split in the Senate.

The power sharing agreement will split committee ratios between Republicans and Democrats 50/50 and budgets will be split 50/50 with an additional 10% for administrative expenses. This remains in effect throughout the 117th Congress unless there is a shift in the makeup of the Senate.


  • If a tie vote occurs on a bill or nomination at the subcommittee level, the chairman of the full committee may place it on the full committee’s agenda.
  • If a committee has not reported out a measure because of a tie vote, then the chairman of the committee shall transmit a notice of a tie vote to the Secretary of the Senate and such notice shall be printed in the record.
  • The Senate majority leader or minority leader may make a motion to discharge a measure with a tie vote to the Senate floor, and the debate is limited to four hours.
  • If the vote to discharge is successful, the matter would immediately be placed on the calendar where the majority leader could then take the procedural steps to proceed to the bill.
  • Filing a motion to end debate on a bill is not allowed until there have been at least 12 hours of debate on a bill.
  • Under current Senate precedents, it remains the prerogative of the majority leader to proceed to any bill or nomination. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also announced his Republican committee assignments following the approval of the power sharing agreement.

U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, will chair the Senate Republicans’ Committee on Committees, which is responsible for committee assignments for the 117th Congress.

Crapo will also chair the Senate Finance Committee.

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., will lead appropriations, which oversees budgeting, including for federal regulators on congressional appropriations like the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., is chair of the committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, which holds semiannual oversight hearings for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and nomination hearings for regulators like the CFPB, FCC and FTC.

Other committee leaders include U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Senate Budget Committee; Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee; Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Judiciary Committee; and Rand Paul, R-Ky., Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.

The assignments are subject to ratification by the Republican Conference as well as the full Senate, which is expected soon. Ranking members will be selected by a vote of the members of each committee and then ratified by the Republican Conference.