New Majority Leader Schumer promises to tackle the pandemic, economic recession, racial injustice and climate change.
The Democratic Party took control of the US Senate on Wednesday for the first time in six years after Kamala Harris was named vice president and two new Democratic senators from Georgia were sworn in.
Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer has become the Senate Majority Leader replacing Republican Mitch McConnell, meaning that Schumer and his fellow Democrats now have the power to set the legislative agenda for the Senate.
“As the majority changes in the Senate, the Senate will do business differently,” Schumer said in his first remarks to the Senate as majority leader.
“The Senate will address the challenges facing our country head-on and without delay, not with half-hearted solutions but with boldness and courage. The Senate will tackle the perils of the moment, ”Schumer said.
Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock were sworn in this afternoon by Vice President Kamala Harris, who was replaced by his successor in the Senate, Alex Padilla.
Now, with Democrats in charge of the House of Representatives and the White House, Washington politics, the legislative machinery will begin to move.
“The Senate will tackle the perils of the moment,” Schumer said, listing the pandemic, economic recession, racial inequality and climate change as the main items on Democrats’ agenda.
Democrats have long complained that under McConnell’s former leadership, the Senate was an obstacle to legislation.
Now in the minority, McConnell struck an accommodating tone in his remarks in the Senate on the day of Biden’s inauguration.
“I congratulate my friend from Delaware. I look forward to working with him as the new president wherever possible, ”said McConnell.
“Our country deserves both sides, both sides find common ground for the common good wherever we can, and disagree, respectfully, when we have to,” McConnell said.
Schumer and McConnell are still negotiating a power-sharing deal that will determine how the chamber runs its affairs with a 50-50 split.
Biden and Democrats need to be careful about the legislation they seek to pass in Congress in order to create an atmosphere of bipartisan cooperation, said Paul Beck, professor of political science at Ohio State University.
“Biden knows the Senate. He is not someone who is going to try to threaten or attack Republicans. He really wants them to work with him, ”Beck told Al Jazeera.