My1sttoday: Schumer becomes new Senate majority leader. Sen. Charles Schumer (D) has achieved his long-held dream of becoming Senate majority leader after three new Democrats were sworn into the Senate by Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday following President Biden’s inauguration.
The victories by Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in Georgia earlier this month create a 50-50 party split in the upper chamber and give Democrats the majority because Vice President Kamala Harris is the tie-breaking vote.
After falling short in 2016 and again in November, Schumer has finally ousted his nemesis, current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who raised tens of millions of dollars himself to stave off the Democratic takeover.
“What a good morning it is. We sure did not take the most direct path to get here but here we are,” an exultant Schumer said the Wednesday morning after the Georgia runoffs, shortly after issuing a statement declaring that Democrats would recapture control of the Senate after six years in the minority.
“As majority leader, President Biden and Vice President Harris will have a partner who is ready, willing and able to help achieve a forward looking agenda,” he said in a victory statement at the time.
Schumer kept expectations of a Democratic sweep in Georgia muted after Democratic candidates failed to knock off GOP incumbents in Maine and North Carolina in November. Senate Democrats had thought they were favored in both states.
Schumer sought to regain political momentum last month by championing a call to increase the size of stimulus checks in a year-end COVID-19 relief package from $600 to $2,000.
He kept senators in Washington the week after Christmas and working on New Year’s Day to highlight Republican opposition to larger stimulus checks. Under his leadership, Democrats forced Republicans on four straight days to block votes to increase the size of the checks.
Schumer said following the runoffs that he would meet with members of his caucus to put together their agenda for 2021, highlighting legislation to send out $2,000 checks as a top priority.
The changing of guard will be especially sweet for Schumer after this year’s bitter fights over former President Trump’s impeachment trial in January and February and last month’s brawl over the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The 70-year-old New York lawmaker left little doubt in his colleagues’ minds over the past decade that his ultimate aspiration was to become the most powerful person in the Senate.