Senate swears in new members, slims GOP majority
by Evan Wilt
Posted 1/03/18, 01:54 pm
WASHINGTON—The Senate Republican majority officially narrowed to 51-49 Wednesday after Vice President Mike Pence swore in two new senators. Newly elected Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., took the place of Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., who filled in when Jeff Sessions became U.S. attorney general last year. Jones became the first Senate Democrat elected in Alabama in 25 years when he came from behind to defeat Republican Roy Moore in the December special election after multiple women accused Moore of past inappropriate behavior. Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., also took the oath of office Wednesday. The former Minnesota lieutenant governor was tapped to replace Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., who resigned amid multiple accusations of groping women and kissing them without their consent. For the first time in state history, Minnesota now has two female senators. Former Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Walter Mondale joined Pence for the ceremony at the Capitol. With Jones in place, Republicans will have a more difficult time advancing their agenda. Last year, the GOP used reconciliation to tackle healthcare reform and pass tax cuts. The healthcare effort failed by one vote and the tax overhaul passed by just two votes along party lines. Jones will serve the rest of Sessions’ term and is up for reelection in 2020. Smith plans to run in the Minnesota special election this November to serve the balance of Franken’s term through the end of 2020.
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Evan is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Washington, D.C.