Democrats formally take management of Senate after Harris swears in

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Democrats took management of the Senate when three new members, Georgia’s Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, and California’s Alex Padilla had been sworn in. Storyful

WASHINGTON – Georgia’s Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff had been sworn into the Senate Wednesday, formally giving Democrats management of the chamber as President Joe Biden goals to push via his legislative agenda.

The senators had been sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris in a ceremony on the U.S. Capitol, one in every of her first actions as vice chairman hours after she and Biden celebrated their inauguration. Harris, who resigned the Senate this week earlier than her inauguration, additionally swore in her substitute: Democrat Alex Padilla, California’s first Latino senator. 

Harris learn a certificates noting Padilla was chosen to exchange her and chuckled as she learn aloud her personal identify, referring to herself as a former senator. “Yeah, that was very bizarre,” Harris mentioned as fellow senators laughed. 

After Harris administered the oath of workplace on the Senate ground, all three new Democrats signed their names in a big, certain oath guide. 

The facility shift marks the primary time Democrats have managed the higher chamber since 2014 and the primary time in a decade that Democrats will management the Home, Senate and White Home. The final time was in 2011 underneath President Barack Obama.

The brand new Democrats will give the chamber a 50-50 cut up, which successfully palms Democrats the bulk as a result of Harris – who as vice chairman serves because the president of the Senate – would be the tiebreaking vote.

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Ossoff, who unseated Republican David Perdue, took his oath utilizing a guide of Hebrew scripture. His workplace mentioned the guide was as soon as owned by Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, a civil rights chief who led Atlanta’s oldest and most distinguished Jewish synagogue, The Temple.

The 33-year-old senator is the youngest member of the chamber and the primary Jewish particular person to serve Georgia within the Senate. 

Vice President Kamala Harris swears in Sens. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga.; Alex Padilla, D-Calif.; and Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., on the ground of the Senate on Jan. 6 in Washington. (Photograph: AP)

Warnock, who unseated Republican Kelly Loeffler, equally made historical past. The pastor, who served on the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church – the place Martin Luther King Jr. served earlier than his assassination – is the primary Black senator to symbolize Georgia and the eleventh Black senator in U.S. historical past. 

Hours earlier than the pair had been sworn in, Ossoff and Warnock sat subsequent to 1 one other at Biden’s inauguration. “That is an affirmation of the democratic course of in the USA, the peaceable switch of energy,” Ossoff mentioned on the celebration.

He mentioned he was prepared to begin his work within the chamber. “I am actually trying ahead to getting all the way down to work and delivering the form of funding in public well being and vaccine distribution and the direct financial reduction that folks ship us right here to struggle for,” Ossoff mentioned. 

Georgia Democratic Senate candidates Raphael Warnock, proper, and Jon Ossoff headline a drive-in voting rally on Dec. 28, 2020, in Stonecrest, Ga. (Photograph: Jessica McGowan, Getty Photos)

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The battle for the Senate got here all the way down to Georgia, a state that appeared like a protracted shot for Democrats not too way back. After Biden turned the state blue for the primary time since 1992, the Senate seats gave the impression to be toss-ups in a high-stakes contest for energy. Each Senate races in November’s election went to a runoff Jan. 5 by which Ossoff and Warnock had been victorious. Hundreds of thousands of {dollars} poured into the campaigns, and high-profile figures in each events helped the candidates, together with Biden and President Donald Trump.

The brand new Democratic lean means Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is the new majority chief after serving 4 years because the minority chief. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., turns into minority chief.

Schumer has already outlined an agenda for the chamber, beginning with three main priorities: approving Biden’s Cupboard nominees, passing further COVID-19 reduction and Trump’s impeachment trial. 

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Georgia Senator-elect Jon Ossoff is thanking Georgians for “electing me to serve you.” (Jan. 6) AP Home

The New York Democrat made addressing school debt, immigration, voting rights and local weather change centerpieces of the chamber’s agenda over the subsequent Congress. He’s the primary Jewish American to function majority chief and the primary from New York to carry the function. 

In his first speech as majority chief, Schumer welcomed the chamber’s latest senators, promised daring laws and welcomed the turning of a brand new web page in Washington. 

“As the bulk modifications within the Senate, the Senate will do enterprise otherwise,” he mentioned in his speech on the Senate ground. “The Senate will handle the challenges our nation faces head on and at once, not with timid options however with boldness and with braveness.”

The son of an exterminator and housewife from Brooklyn, Schumer, 70, made clear what his priorities can be as he helps Biden obtain his agenda.

“The Senate will sort out the perils of the second: a once-in-a-generation well being and financial disaster. And it’ll try to make progress on the generations-long wrestle for racial justice, financial justice, equality of alternative and equality underneath the regulation,” Schumer mentioned. “And make no mistake, the Senate will forcefully, constantly and urgently handle the best menace to this nation and our planet: local weather change.”

Schumer mentioned Democrats plan to carry extra payments to the ground the place the probabilities of sending them to the president for his signature are higher since Democrats maintained management of the Home.

Although Democrats will management the Senate, Home and White Home, the margins are so slim that far-reaching laws might have hassle passing in Biden’s first years in workplace. Home Democrats misplaced greater than a dozen seats prior to now election, leaving them with solely a three-seat majority. There are three vacancies within the Home, not less than one in every of which is a protected Democratic district. 

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The Senate is in an analogous scenario with its 50-50 cut up. Schumer met with McConnell on Tuesday a couple of power-sharing settlement because the chamber shall be cut up down the center. 

The final time the Senate noticed a 50-50 cut up was in 2001 when George W. Bush was president. Republicans and Democrats cast an settlement that, amongst different issues, known as for each events to compromise on the Senate schedule and had an equal variety of senators from every occasion on committees.

After the assembly, Schumer indicated help for the same settlement. 

“Chief Schumer expressed that the fairest, most affordable and best path ahead is to undertake the 2001 bipartisan settlement with out extraneous modifications from both aspect,” Justin Goodman, a spokesman for Schumer, mentioned after the assembly. 

McConnell has made defending the way forward for the filibuster, which requires a 60-vote supermajority to rapidly cross laws, a central difficulty in discussions over the settlement. 

“Chief McConnell expressed his long-held view that the essential, long-standing and bipartisan Senate guidelines in regards to the legislative filibuster stay intact, particularly through the energy share for the subsequent two years,” mentioned Doug Andres, a spokesman for McConnell. “Discussions on all facets of the power-sharing settlement will proceed over the subsequent a number of days.”

Contributing: Ledyard King

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