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Schumer declares he will be Senate majority leader

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerManchin firm on support for filibuster, mulls making it 'a little bit more painful' to use Biden takes victory lap after Senate passes coronavirus relief package Lawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food 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 OssoffAdvocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout Klain on Harris breaking tie: 'Every time she votes, we win' Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MORE and incumbent Republican David PerdueDavid PerdueAdvocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee Bipartisan bill would ban lawmakers from buying, selling stocks 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.”

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“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 PelosiTrump White House associate tied to Proud Boys before riot via cell phone data Greene sounds off on GOP after Hill story 'Bloody Sunday' to be commemorated for first time without John Lewis MORE (D-Calif.) on Wednesday morning also declared victory in both Georgia races.

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“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 BidenLawmakers, activists remember civil rights icons to mark 'Bloody Sunday' Fauci predicts high schoolers will receive coronavirus vaccinations this fall Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE and Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisWhite House says Biden would prefer to not end filibuster Biden takes victory lap after Senate passes coronavirus relief package It will be Vice (or) President Harris against Gov. DeSantis in 2024 — bet on it 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 WarnockAdvocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout 'Bloody Sunday' to be commemorated for first time without John Lewis LeBron James's More Than A Vote ad campaign focuses on defending voting rights MORE defeated Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerAdvocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee Bipartisan bill would ban lawmakers from buying, selling stocks MORE (R-Geo.) in a runoff special election to serve the rest of retired Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonLoeffler leaves door open to 2022 rematch against Warnock Perdue on potential 2022 run: GOP must regain the Senate Bottom line 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.

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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.