US Senate control shifts to Democrats | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 22, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:04 AM, January 22, 2021

US Senate control shifts to Democrats

Two Georgia Democrats were sworn in Wednesday as the newest members of the US Senate, handing their party control of the upper chamber just hours after President Joe Biden took office. 

With Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock -- who ousted two Republicans in a pair of January 5 run-offs -- being formally seated, the body now stands deadlocked at 50-50.

That means Democrats control the chamber because new Vice President Kamala Harris acts as the tie-breaking vote.

Harris, herself a former senator from California, presided over the session just hours after becoming vice president, and swore in the two Georgia men and her own replacement, Alex Padilla.

By flipping the Senate and holding the House of Representatives in last November's election, Democrats now control all levels of power in Washington in a period of heightened political partisanship following the four-year presidency of Donald Trump.

That provides Biden an avenue to push through some of his key legislative priorities on climate change, immigration, and a $1.9 trillion relief package to help American families and businesses devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate control should mean Biden will have an easier time getting his cabinet members and judge picks confirmed. But passing aggressive legislation is likely to be a far more difficult proposition. 

Among the Democratic Senate's first orders of business: the impeachment trial of Trump, who is no longer president but could face a lifetime ban on serving in public office if he is convicted. 

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