- Click here for the article.
The Senate’s leadership elections went off without a hitch Wednesday, with victorious Republicans keeping their top echelon intact.
Democrats elevated Charles E. Schumer to the role of minority leader for the next Congress, as anticipated, but the most interesting development might be that the Brooklyn lawmaker is going to need a bigger meeting table.
In what appeared to be an effort to respond to the 2016 elections with a more ideologically diverse team, Democrats added Vermont independent Bernie Sanders and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin as representatives of a more progressive faction and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia representing a more centrist contingent. Sanders will be chairman of outreach, Baldwin will serve as conference secretary and Manchin will be vice chairman of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, an advisory board to leadership.
. . . There probably would not have been suspense on the Republican side even if the GOP had lost the majority, but the outcome was even more predictable given the election results.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was re-elected as the chamber’s Republican leader Wednesday during a closed-door organizational meeting.
The Kentucky Republican was nominated by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen.-elect Todd Young of Indiana, and received a standing ovation from the caucus.
Young said he highlighted his faith in McConnell’s leadership in his remarks to the caucus. “I trusted Mitch McConnell because I had direct interaction, especially over recent months,” Young said.
The top GOP leaders are all white men. But in the 114th Congress McConnell did appoint four counsels to broaden the discussion at the leadership table, which included two female senators.
Nebraska’s Deb Fischer, who served as one of the counsels, expects those positions to continue in the next Congress. She was also not concerned with the lack of diversity at the top.
“I think it’s important that we put the best person in the job,” Fischer said. “Diversity is good, whether it’s age or prior work experience, life experiences, gender, whatever, that’s always good to have it in the mix. When it comes down to a certain position, I think you always have to look at the qualities of the individuals.”