Chuck Schumer re-elected as US Senate leader after Democrats expand majority

Chuck Schumer re-elected as US Senate leader after Democrats expand majority
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (J Scott Applewhite/AP/PA)

Senator Chuck Schumer was unanimously elected on Thursday for another term as Senate Democratic leader, leading a bolstered 51-seat majority for a new era of divided government in the US Congress.

Senate Democrats met behind closed doors at the Capitol to choose their leadership team for the new Congress that begins in January.

As Senate majority leader, Mr Schumer has proven to be a steady force amid one of the more consequential sessions of Congress.

He took the helm in the weeks after the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, and led his party through the Covid-19 crisis and legislative achievements, many of them bipartisan. A former campaign chief, he steered the party to the majority and expanded it to 51 seats with Senator Raphael Warnock’s election win on Tuesday in Georgia.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer welcomes Sen Raphael Warnock to the Capitol after Mr Warnock defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a run-off election in Georgia (J Scott Applewhite/AP/PA)

Mr Schumer’s reelection puts two New Yorkers at the top of the Democratic leadership in Congress, alongside Hakeem Jefferies, the incoming House minority leader. Mr Jeffries was elected to lead the Democrats after Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to step aside next year.

Senate Democrats are expected to fill out their leadership team with new and returning figures.

Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois is on track for another term in the number two spot. The number three position is to be filled by Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.

With Republicans taking control of the House, it will be a new challenge for Mr Schumer in a divided Washington.

Senate Republicans already chose their team, putting Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell on track to become the longest-serving party leader in the chamber.

Mr McConnell beat back a rare challenge from Florida GOP Senator Rick Scott, the party’s campaign chief, who failed to win back the Senate majority for the Republicans.

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