Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican party’s are about to lose control of the Senate after Democrats sweep victories in Tuesday’s Georgia runoffs.
At the runoffs, Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock have come out victorious against GOP Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.
Their win can be considered historical in multiple ways. It makes them the first Democrats to represent Georgia since the year 2000. Apart from this, Warnock is the first African-American elected to represent Georgia in the Senate. Meanwhile, Ossoff will become the youngest member of the Senate at 33.
On Wednesday, Ossoff posted a video, expressing his gratitude to the people of Georgia who voted for him during the runoffs. In it, he said: “It is with humility that I thank the people of Georgia for electing me to serve you in the United States Senate. Thank you for the trust that you have placed in me.”
However, Perdue and Loeffler still have not conceded from the race. Perdue stated that he will “exhaust every legal recourse” to make sure no anomalies will happen during the count. Meanwhile, Loeffler said, “There are a lot of votes out there, as y’all know, and we have a path to victory and we’re staying on it.”
Democrats Gain Control of the Senate After Georgia Runoffs
The victory of Ossoff and Warnock at the Georgia runoffs lets Democrats have 50 seats in the Senate. While this forms a tie with the seats Republicans occupy, the Democratic party will still have majority control over the Senate. This is because Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will cast tie-breaking votes if needed.
With the Democrats effectively taking majority control over the Senate, this means the grip McConnell and the Republicans have over it for six years will be lost. This change, however, would become instrumental in pushing forward President-elect Joe Biden’s plans for his administration.
The role of the majority leader in the Senate is powerful as that person controls the floor schedule. Also, the majority leader can also push for or prevent votes on any bill. With McConnell losing his power as majority leader, policies in line with Biden’s agenda would have an easier time passing the Senate.
During his stint as the Senate majority leader, McConnell made great use of his power. He is known to have blocked many bills from the House that were passed by both Democrats and Republicans alike. McConnell is also known for doing so by ignoring bills instead of shooting them down with a vote while the legislation is at the Senate.
This manner of handling legislation had always frustrated Democrats. However, it also drew the ire of many of his fellow GOP senators.
Schumer Expected to Become New Majority Leader
Given the Democrat’s newfound control over the upper chamber of Congress, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York), who is the current Senate minority leader, is expected to take McConnell’s spot as the majority leader.
In a statement released on Wednesday morning, Schumer said:
“It feels like a brand new day,” said Schumer in a statement Wednesday morning. “For the first time in six years, Democrats will operate a majority in the United States Senate — and that will be very good for the American people.”
Schumer also promised to make “bold” changes. He also mentioned that he would focus to address the COVID-19 pandemic, saying “Help is on the way.”