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VP Harris Swears in 3 New Senators

Chuck Schumer is now Senate Majority Leader
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2021 5:59 PM CST

(Newser) – Vice President Kamala Harris is now also president of the Senate—and Sen. Chuck Schumer is now Senate Majority Leader. Democrats regained control of the chamber Wednesday after Harris swore in three new Democratic senators: Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, whose Georgia election wins were certified Tuesday, and Sen. Alex Padilla, her replacement. Axios reports that Harris burst into laughter as she addressed "the certificate of the appointment to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California," saying, "Yeah, that was very weird." The chamber is now split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, with Harris' tie-breaking vote putting Democrats in control for the first time since 2014, reports USA Today.

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Warnock is the 11th Black senator. Harris is the 10th. Padilla is the first Latino senator from California and Ossoff is the first Jewish senator from Georgia—and, at 33, the youngest senator. The Washington Post reports that in his first speech as majority leader, Schumer said the Senate will confront the many challenges the country faces with "boldness and courage." "Today the threat to our democracy from the presidency itself has ended, but the challenges we face as a nation remain." He also addressed the Capitol riot, saying: "It takes more than a band of hooligans to bring our democracy down. Our democracy, though tried and tested, shall long endure. Let it be a message to those terrorists who desecrated this temple of democracy that they will never prevail." (Read more Senate stories.)

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