November 20, 2020

Although vote counting continues and legal challenges to the election endure, many news media organizations are projecting that former Vice President Joe Biden will become the 46th President of the United States on January 20, 2021.

The House of Representatives will remain under Democratic control, but control of the Senate is somewhat less certain since the balance of power will be determined in January 2021 following a run-off election for two open Senate seats in Georgia. The run-off is necessary because neither of the candidates in either of the races obtained more than 50% of the total vote count as required by the state’s election law. A win by the two Democratic candidates would shift the balance of power in the Senate from one of GOP control to one where neither party has a majority. In that case, if all Senators vote along party lines (including independent senators who typically vote with Democrats), any deadlock on legislation would be broken by Vice President-elect Harris casting the deciding vote. This tiebreaking potential would also determine the Senate leadership, the ratio of committee memberships between the parties, and the leadership of each committee.