GOP, Democratic Senate leaders reelected
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Democratic minority leader, Chuck Schumer , were both reelected to their posts by their respective party colleagues on Wednesday.
Both elections, which were conducted behind closed doors, resulted in the reappointments of McConnell and Schumer “by acclamation,” that is by a voice vote and without the need for casting ballots, the two men’s spokespeople said.
Neither of the two senators faced any opposition to their reelection, despite the fact that recently-elected Democratic Sen. Krysten Sinema of Arizona had warned during her campaign for the midterm elections that she would not support Schumer.
The majority leader, McConnell, who ascended to his present post in 2015, is tasked with scheduling legislative activity in the upper house, thus making him one of the most powerful US politicians.
“Honored,” wrote McConnell on his Twitter account minutes after his reelection was made official, a message to which he attached a photograph of his office door with his name and title.
After the vote, McConnell met with the six new Republican senators, whom he thanked for their role in helping maintain the GOP majority in the Senate.
Also present at that meeting was Florida Gov. Rick Scott , although the winner of the Florida Senate race has not yet officially been determined.
Meanwhile, Schumer said at a Wednesday press conference that Senate Democrats will work to improve the lives of the middle class and those who aspire to join it.
If the Republicans win the two seats that remain to be decided - the ones in Florida and Mississippi - the party split in the Senate will be 53-47 in favor of the GOP.
If the Democratic candidates prevail, however, the Senate would still remain in Republican hands but their majority would be a narrower 51-49, the same margin of GOP control that existed before the midterms.
The votes for the Florida Senate seat for which Scott ran against longstanding Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson are being recounted and are mired in lawsuits and controversy due to delays and other problems with the recount.
It is uncertain how many ballots remain to be counted in that race, a situation that is creating controversy and which has spurred President Donald Trump, Scott and other Republicans to complain of possible “election fraud,” albeit without offering any proof.
The Mississippi race will be decided in a runoff election on Nov. 27.
Meanwhile, Republicans elected Kevin McCarthy to the post of House minority leader, replacing Paul Ryan, who announced in April that he would be retiring from politics at the end of the current Congress.
The new Congress, with its Democratic majority in the House and Republican majority in the Senate, will formally commence with its activities on Jan. 3, 2019.