There are currently only 40 Republicans in the Senate, the lowest total since 1977-79. Nevertheless, Congressional Quarterly points out that they have been able to kick some “field goals” by sticking together. The Republicans have won victories on some issues where they have been able to peel off Democratic support, and have been able to block (so far) a few particularly objectionable appointments. John Thune notes that by winning occasional victories, the Republicans are able to have ongoing influence on the drafting of legislation:
Thune said GOP senators will be picking and choosing their battles to ensure some victories. “Our ability to not only stop things that we think ought to be stopped but to also influence legislation is affected by our ability to stay together,” Thune said.
Of course, the Republicans’ task will become a bit harder if Al Franken is seated as the 100th Senator.