Fake medicines kill almost 500,000 sub-Saharan Africans a year: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reportRead more Climate crisis and migration: Greta Thunberg supports International Organization for Migration (IOM) over ‘life and death’ issueRead more United Nations (UN) Convenes Lake Chad Countries, Amid Growing Regional CrisisRead more 11 Disruptive Startups Selected for Cohort 3 of the Africa Startup Initiative Program (ASIP) Accelerator Program powered by Startupbootcamp AfricaRead more Africa Data Centres breaks ground on new Sameer facility in NairobiRead more Coffee with a human face: A union that improves livelihoods for Ugandan farmersRead more Trends Predicted to drive the retail industry in 2023Read more Vantage Capital exits Pétro IvoireRead more Afrobarometer charts path for Round 10 surveysRead more Unified communication and collaboration trends for 2023 (By David Meintjes)Read more

US Senate control shifts to Democrats as Georgia pair sworn in

show caption
With the swearing-in of new Democratic Senators Jon Ossoff (L) and Raphael Warnock (R) of Georgia, the Democrats now control the US Senate, with the body deadlocked at 50-50, and Vice President Kamala Harris acting as the tie-breaker./AFP
Print Friendly and PDF

Jan 21, 2021 - 06:59 AM

WASHINGTON — Two Georgia Democrats were sworn in Wednesday as the newest members of the US Senate, handing their party control of the upper chamber just hours after President Joe Biden took office.

With Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock — who ousted two Republicans in a pair of January 5 run-offs — being formally seated, the body now stands deadlocked at 50-50.

That means Democrats control the chamber because new Vice President Kamala Harris acts as the tie-breaking vote.

Harris, herself a former senator from California, presided over the session just hours after becoming vice president, and swore in the two Georgia men and her own replacement, Alex Padilla.

By flipping the Senate and holding the House of Representatives in last November’s election, Democrats now control all levels of power in Washington in a period of heightened political partisanship following the four-year presidency of Donald Trump.

That provides Biden an avenue to push through some of his key legislative priorities on climate change, immigration, and a $1.9 trillion relief package to help American families and businesses devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Democratic shift means top Republican Senator Mitch McConnell cedes power to his rival, Senator Chuck Schumer, who becomes the first-ever majority leader born in the state of New York.

In his first speech leading the Senate, the 70-year-old Schumer described himself as “a kid from Brooklyn, the son of an exterminator and a housewife, a descendant of victims of the Holocaust.”

Senate control should mean Biden will have an easier time getting his cabinet members and judge picks confirmed. But passing aggressive legislation is likely to be a far more difficult proposition.

Schumer nevertheless sounded a note of high optimism about the future now that Trump, who incited a mob of his supporters to storm the US Capitol two weeks ago in a bid to prevent the certification of Biden’s election win, has exited the White House.

“I would challenge anyone not to feel hopeful today,” Schumer said.

“Today, the threat to democracy from the presidency itself has ended, but the challenges we face as a nation remain.”

McConnell congratulated both Biden and Harris on their inaugurations, and said they begin their terms “with the prayers of our whole nation at their backs.”

And he specifically noted Biden’s call for unity, saying he looked forward to “working with our new president wherever possible.”

Among the Democratic Senate’s first orders of business: the impeachment trial of Trump, who is no longer president but could face a lifetime ban on serving in public office if he is convicted.

  • bio
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • latest posts

MAORANDCITIES.COM uses both Facebook and Disqus comment systems to make it easier for you to contribute. We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. All comments should be relevant to the topic. By posting, you agree to our Privacy Policy. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, name-calling, foul language or other inappropriate behavior. Please keep your comments relevant and respectful. By leaving the ‘Post to Facebook’ box selected – when using Facebook comment system – your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the “X” in the upper right corner of the Facebook comment box to report spam or abuse. You can also email us.