Biden Urges Senate to Focus on “Important Business”

"Joe Biden" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Gage Skidmore

Late Wednesday, President-elect Joe Biden weighed in again the subject of impeachment. However, this time, he urges the Senate to press ahead with the legislative business and pursue a possible impeachment trial against Trump.

Biden said, “I hope that the Senate leadership will find a way to deal with their Constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation.”

According to reports, Biden stays concerned about how Congress is so focused on the impeachment trial and punishing President Trump that he might lose the time he needs in order to pass his agenda. In usual cases, the newly elected President only has 100 days to introduce key pieces of legislation and only 18 months to press a full agenda.

However, if the Senate is wholly focused on pushing for Trump’s impeachment – a commitment required from them by the Constitution – the impeachment will dominate any attempt of Joe Biden and his administration to effect change within the time he has to pass his agenda. 

Earlier this week, the President-elect said, “From confirmations to key posts such as secretaries for Homeland Security, State, Defense, Treasury, and director of national intelligence, to getting our vaccine program on track, and to getting our economy going again.” He continued, “Too many of our fellow Americans have suffered for too long over the past year to delay this urgent work.”

Joe Biden is reportedly most focused on passing another COVID-19 relief bill to increase the package passed by Congress last December. 

On Thursday, Biden announced more details about his plans, including among them is $1400 additional checks for taxpayers, an amount which would bring the total supplement to $2000 per person. He wants this measure passed within the first few days of his administration.

Accordingly, he asked lawmakers to shorten the impeachment trial schedule and consider doing a half-day schedule instead. Biden said, “Can we go half-day on dealing with the impeachment and half-day getting my people nominated and confirmed in the Senate, as well as moving on a package? That’s my hope and expectation.

It is becoming more evident that if an impeachment against Trump begins on Friday in the Senate, it will not end before Biden’s inauguration on January 20. 

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) noted in a statement, “even if the Senate process were to begin this week and move promptly, no final verdict would be reached until after President Trump had left office.” McConnell added, “this is not a decision I am making; it is a fact.”

Biden and Democrats are facing this dilemma. Although it is not yet clear whether the impeachment trial against Trump could take place after a President has already left office, it is also unclear if the Senate can divide their time while they are going through impeachment proceedings. 

According to the guidelines for the impeachment trial, all senators must be present for the trial. In addition to this, it also states that for the trial to consume the Senate’s business hours for up to six days per week until it concludes.