Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was exuberant on Wednesday addressing reporters on Capitol Hill.
“We sure did not take the most direct path to get here, but we are here,” Schumer said, smiling widely. “It feels like a brand new day.”
Schumer also said that passing a pandemic relief bill with higher direct payments will be a top priority. The House in December passed a bill approving larger payments, but Senate Republicans blocked it.
“One of the first thing that I want to do when our new senators are seated,” Schumer continued, “is deliver the $2,000 checks to the American families.”
Schumer said he’s already spoken with President-elect Joe Biden and pledged that the incoming administration will have an ally in the Senate.
“For too long, much-needed help has been stalled or diluted by a Republican-led Senate and President Trump,” Schumer said. “That will change with a Democratic senate, Democratic house and a Democratic president.”
Biden said in a statement Wednesday he’s eager to work with congressional Democrats as well as Republicans.
“It looks like we will emerge from yesterday’s election with Democratic leadership in the House and the Senate, and of course I’m pleased that we will be able to work with Speaker Pelosi and a Majority Leader Schumer,” Biden said. “But I’m also just as determined today as I was yesterday to try to work with people in both parties — at the federal, state and local levels — to get big things done for our nation.”
Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock defeated Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a bitter campaign, with the reverend becoming Georgia’s first Black senator.
Democrat Jon Ossoff declared victory Wednesday morning in his race against former Sen. David Perdue. While ABC News has not projected that race, Ossoff garnered a significant lead overnight, and his margin is now nearly 5,000 votes greater than President-elect Joe Biden’s was over Donald Trump in November.
If Ossoff wins, the Senate will be split 50-50, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in place to cast any potential tie-breaking votes. It would be the first time since 2011 that Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the White House.
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“We need to fix a lot of the damage Trump’s done,” Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, told reporters Wednesday, “and then there’s pent-up demand for a whole lot of things — what do we do about climate and about racial inequality, about wealth inequality, about structural racism?”
“I think we’re going to do big things,” he added. “I think that an overwhelming number of Democrats are pointing in the same direction on all of this.”
Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., said: “I could not sleep last night. I was so excited.”
Carper said he expects confirmation hearings for Biden’s cabinet nominees to go smoothly.
“We’re only as good as the team we have around us — he has nominated just a terrific team,” Carper added. “And I think the outcome of yesterday’s votes in Georgia better ensure that that team will be largely confirmed expeditiously, and they can go to work for our country.”
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