Senate Leaders Quickly Find Room To Disagree
Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi was re-elected as majority leader on Tuesday, pledging to cooperate with the Democratic minority and the White House, to run a tighter and more organized legislative ship and to restore the Senate to a decidedly less taxing work schedule.
On the Democrats’ side, Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota was chosen again to lead the minority and he, too, pledged to work with the opposition.
But within an hour of their re-elections the Senate leaders had already found cause for disagreement - over the priority and the timetable for considering changes to campaign finance laws.
Daschle called campaign financing “the most important piece of business” facing the new Congress. But Lott told reporters he planned to investigate questionable contributions to the Democratic Party by Asian businessmen who are friends of President Clinton.
Republicans will control 55 Senate seats when the new Congress convenes on Jan. 7. That is two more than they held in the 104th Congress, but five short of what they need to break a Democratic filibuster.