Republican Mitch McConnell breaks US Senate leadership record | Politics News

McConnell became the longest-serving Senate leader in the chamber’s history as the 118th US Congress convenes.

As the 118th United States Congress convenes for the first time on Tuesday, its upper house marks a record broken by Senator Mitch McConnell, who became the longest-serving Senate leader in history.

McConnell, an 80-year-old Republican from Kentucky, surpassed late Democratic Sen. Mike Mansfield’s 16-year record. McConnell has been the leader of the Republican Party in the Senate since 2007.

Tuesday’s step in the Senate stands in stark contrast to the drama unfolding in the House of Representatives, where McConnell’s counterpart – top Republican Kevin McCarthy – faces opposition within his own party to his run for president. presidency of the House.

By the end of the congressional session on Tuesday, McCarthy had failed to muster enough support in three separate votes, leaving the chairmanship unclaimed.

McConnell, similarly, faced opposition when he mounted a bid to be re-elected to his top job in November. But he easily overcame a challenge from Florida Sen. Rick Scott, garnering 37 Republican votes, enough to beat Scott’s 10 votes.

In the 118th Congress, McConnell returns to his post as Minority Leader, after Democrats thwarted a “red wave” in last November’s midterm elections. They retained a narrow Senate majority of 100 seats, thanks to victories in key states like Georgia, where incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock retained his seat in a December runoff.

Another incumbent emerging from a midterm victory was Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York, who had his own record to break. Senate Majority Leader Schumer became his state’s longest-serving senator on Tuesday, as Vice President Kamala Harris presided over the swearing-in ceremony.

The ceremony was also an opportunity to welcome seven new members to the Senate: two Democrats and five Republicans. One of those newcomers was John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, a Democrat and the only candidate to flip a Senate seat midterm in 2022.

The seat remained vacant after Republican Senator Pat Toomey announced his retirement, sparking a much-anticipated race between Fetterman and Republican candidate Mehmet Oz, a television personality backed by former President Donald Trump.

Other new senators included Peter Welch of Vermont, Ted Budd of North Carolina, Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, Eric Schmitt of Missouri, JD Vance of Ohio and Katie Britt of Alabama, her state’s first woman elected to the chamber.

Washington Democrat Patty Murray also made history by becoming the first woman to serve as acting Senate President. The role allows Murray to preside over the Senate in the absence of the vice president and also places her third in the presidency, behind the vice president and the speaker of the House.

With Arizona independent Kyrsten Sinema receiving committee assignments from Democrats, the party maintains a narrow 51-49 majority in the Senate.

The chamber holds the power to approve or reject presidential candidates for key executive and judicial positions. And already, President Joe Biden, a Democrat, has resubmitted 85 nominations that failed to pass the previous Senate.

They include Biden’s nominee for ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti. While serving as mayor of Los Angeles, Garcetti was accused of ignoring sexual harassment complaints against an aide. But his nomination has yet to receive a full vote in the Senate.

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