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Biden concerned impeachment effort will delay work on virus, agenda, asks Congress to split time

The incoming president has asked Congressional leaders whether they will be able to 'bifurcate' the Senate's time to address impeachment and cabinet picks

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Joe Biden
Joe Biden
(JIM WATSON/Getty)
Updated: January 12, 2021 - 9:34am

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Incoming President Joe Biden has asked members of Congress to split – or "bifurcate' – their time between impeachment efforts and a legislative agenda, over concerns that trying to remove President Trump from office will take time from such pressing voter issues as the coronavirus and the economy.  

"I had a discussion today with some of the folks in the House and Senate. And the question is whether or not, for example, if the House moves forward – which they obviously are – with the impeachment and sends it over to the Senate, whether or not we can bifurcate this," Biden told reporters Monday.

The Democrat-controlled House is set to vote as early as Wednesday on whether to impeach Trump for a second time. The measure, if passed, would go to the Senate eight days before Trump leaves office and Biden enters the White House. 

Democrats are reportedly considering how to possibly delay the Senate vote until after two Democrats get seated, taking the chamber majority for Republicans.

"Can we go half-day on dealing with the impeachment and half-day getting my people nominated and confirmed in the Senate?" Biden asked. 

The House has confirmed that the article of impeachment has 218 co-sponsors, enough to gain passage.

However, West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin says senators have been attempting to convey to House Democrats that the impeachment votes in the upper chamber "aren't there."

"I think this is so ill-advised for Joe Biden to be coming in, trying to heal the country, trying to be the president of all the people when we are going to be so divided and fighting again. Let the judicial system do its job," he said. 

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer thinks differently.

"We've got to do both," he told the Buffalo News. "We're going to have to do several things at once, but we've got to move the agenda as well."

The Senate is not scheduled to return to session until Jan. 19.

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