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• There is no written roadmap that Senate leaders must follow in a tied chamber. However, there are historical precedents.
• The primary precedent is two decades old — a power-sharing agreement negotiated between the two party leaders in 2001.
• The Senate is often a dysfunctional body. A tie could make that even worse.
With Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff winning Senate seats in Georgia’s pivotal runoff elections, the U.S. Senate is now poised to become a 50-50 chamber.
Congressional Research Service, "The Senate Powersharing Agreement of the 107th Congress (2001-2003): Key Features," Dec. 27, 2006
Bipartisan Policy Center, "Tied Senate: Who Controls a 50-50 Chamber?" Nov. 12, 2020
Washington Post, "What happens if the Senate is equally split after the Georgia runoffs?" Jan. 5, 2021
Email interview with Donald R. Wolfensberger, director of the Congress Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Jan. 6, 2021
Email interview with Stewart Verdery, CEO and founder of Monument Advocacy LLC, Jan. 6, 2021
Email interview with Josh Ryan, Utah State University political scientist, Jan. 6, 2021
Email interview with John Fortier, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Jan. 6, 2021
Email interview with Richard Cohen, chief author of the Almanac of American Politics, Jan. 6, 2021
Email interview with Steven Smith, Washington University political scientist, Jan. 6, 2021