SPONSORED:

Schumer declares he will be Senate majority leader

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerWhite House draws ire of progressives amid voting rights defeat Murkowski to vote 'no' on voting rights bill Harris to preside over Senate for voting rights debate MORE (N.Y.) on Wednesday declared himself Senate “majority leader” and asserted that Democrats have regained control of the Senate even though one of two Senate runoff races in Georgia has yet to be called.

“It feels like a brand new day. For the first time in six years, Democrats will operate a majority in the United States Senate — and that will be very good for the American people,” Schumer said in a statement released Wednesday morning even as the race between Democrat Jon OssoffJon OssoffOssoff introduces solar energy tax credit legislation Democrats seek new ways to expand Medicaid in holdout states Stacey Abrams calls on young voters of color to support election reform bill MORE and incumbent Republican David PerdueDavid PerdueLoeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run Georgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock Georgia Republican secretary of state hits Loeffler as 'weak,' 'fake Trumper' MORE is still undetermined.

Anticipating control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, Schumer signaled that Democrats plan on passing another major coronavirus relief package soon, promising “help is on the way.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“America is experiencing one of the greatest crises we have ever faced, and the Senate Democratic Majority is committed to delivering the bold change and help Americans need and demand. Senate Democrats know America is hurting,” he said.

Schumer also thanked “everyone in Georgia and across the country who volunteered their time, donated what they could, and worked so hard to elect new leadership in Washington."

The Democratic leader promised to work closely with the Biden administration.

“As majority leader, President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris will have a partner who is ready, willing and able to help achieve a forward-looking agenda and deliver help and bold change to the American people,” he said.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi quashes reports on Jan. 6 select committee Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs warn against sweeping reform to military justice system | Senate panel plans July briefing on war authorization repeal | National Guard may have 'training issues' if not reimbursed On The Money: Powell says pickup in job gains likely this fall | Schumer, Pelosi meeting with White House on infrastructure MORE (D-Calif.) on Wednesday morning also declared victory in both Georgia races.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Now, because of the courageous leadership of Georgians, America will have a Democratic Senate working hand-in-hand with our  Democratic House majority and President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBaltimore police chief calls for more 'boots on the ground' to handle crime wave Biden to deliver remarks at Sen. John Warner's funeral Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump MORE and Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisA call to action for strategic space competition with China Old-guard Democrats must end the filibuster and symbolic progress Biden job approval at 43 percent in Iowa: poll MORE,” she said in a statement.

Pelosi highlighted coronavirus relief legislation as a top priority.

“We will pursue a science and values-based plan to crush the virus and deliver relief to struggling families, safeguard the right to quality affordable health care and launch a plan to Build Back Better powered by fair economic growth,” she said.

Democrats at a minimum will control 49 seats after Rev. Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockRacial reparations at the USDA Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda Democrats seek new ways to expand Medicaid in holdout states MORE defeated Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerLoeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run Herschel Walker skips Georgia's GOP convention Georgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock MORE (R-Geo.) in a runoff special election to serve the rest of retired Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonLoeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run Loeffler group targets Democrats with billboards around baseball stadium Warnock raises nearly M since January victory MORE’s (R-Ga.) term.

Even with Democrats in control of the Senate agenda, they still need significant bipartisan support to move legislation unless they use a special budgetary process known as reconciliation to move bills with simple-majority votes. But that special pathway is reserved for legislation that directly impacts revenue, spending or the federal deficit.

ADVERTISEMENT

Almost all controversial legislation needs to overcome a 60-vote procedural threshold to cut off debate and proceed to an up-or-down vote in the chamber.

Ossoff is leading Perdue by just more than 16,000 votes with an estimated 98 percent of the vote tallied. He declared victory Wednesday, though The Associated Press has not yet called the race.

Ossoff said in a video message shared on social media platforms that passing COVID-19 relief would be his top priority.

“I want to thank the people of Georgia for participating in this election,” he said. “Whether you were for me or against me, I will be for you in the U.S. Senate.” 

Neither Loeffler nor Perdue, whose term expired earlier this week, have conceded their races.

Loeffler early Wednesday morning said she won’t concede until her team makes sure “that every vote is counted.”

“We have a path to victory and we’re staying on it,” she said.