McConnell, Schumer to Remain Senate Leaders

November 11, 2020by Chris Cioffi, CQ-Roll Call
In this 2018 picture (from left) Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walk side-by-side to the Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/TNS)

WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Democratic Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York were reelected Tuesday to lead their parties in the Senate during the next Congress.

The leadership elections, which occurred behind closed doors Tuesday morning, were held even though it’s still unclear which party will hold the Senate majority.

Races called in last week’s election have the chamber currently deadlocked at 48-48, and control could depend on a double runoff in Georgia for seats occupied by GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. Republican Sens. Dan Sullivan of Alaska and Thom Tillis of North Carolina are leading in the two other uncalled races.

McConnell, who is the only Republican member who doesn’t face conference-imposed term limits, is already the longest-serving Senate Republican leader as he enters his sixth term.

The vote to reelect the Kentucky Republican as leader was unanimous.

McConnell was nominated by Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who praised the leader, saying no one “has done more than Mitch to play the long game.” Cotton also poked fun at some of the nicknames McConnell’s received over the years, according to his prepared remarks.

“A few weeks ago, someone called him the apex predator of American politics, which may be the best yet,” Cotton said. “I nominate as our leader, the apex predator of the United States Senate, Addison Mitchell McConnell Jr.”

McConnell served as minority leader from 2007 until he took over as majority leader in 2015.

The other members of their respective Senate leadership teams kept their jobs, too.

John Thune of South Dakota was again chosen as Republican whip, and Wyoming’s John Barrasso was tapped to be Republican Conference Chairman.

Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri was tapped to be GOP policy committee chairman, and Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst was elected to be the conference vice chairman.

Sen. Rick Scott of Florida was selected to lead Senate Republicans’ campaign arm for the 2022 election cycle.

In his tenure as majority leader over what seemed like a coronavirus-dominated 116th Congress, McConnell helped guide his caucus through the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump and helped get several pandemic aid packages passed quickly by large margins.

Since then, however, agreement on new COVID-19 aid has been hard to come by. And the majority leader was largely absent during the talks between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and White House negotiators, though he said he was kept up to date on the discussions.

Though not much substantive legislation has passed since summer, McConnell was able to get a third Trump-picked Supreme Court justice confirmed, as well as dozens of appeals and district court judges.

Democrats elected their full leadership team by acclamation, according to a Democratic aide.

Richard J. Durbin was reelected as whip just days after he won his fifth term in Illinois last week. Patty Murray of Washington was once again picked to be the Democrats’ assistant leader.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan was reelected to lead the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.

Several new faces were also added to the Democratic leadership team.

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey joins as vice chair of the DPCC, and Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto was added as vice chair of outreach.

___

(c)2020 CQ-Roll Call, Inc., All Rights Reserved

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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