#Democrats take narrow #control of U.S. #Senate as three new members sworn in
Democrats took control of the U.S. Senate on Wednesday (January 20) when Vice President Kamala Harris swore in three new members to give the party a narrow grip on both houses of Congress as well as the White House for the first time in a decade.
Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff of Georgia and Alex Padilla of California took the oath of office in the Senate chamber hours after President Joe Biden was sworn in.
Warnock and Ossoff won upset victories in a pair of Jan. 5 runoff elections to split the Senate 50-50 with Harris, a Democrat, holding the decisive vote in any tie between Republicans and Democrats.
Padilla, California's first Latino senator, was appointed to fill Harris's Senate seat after she resigned on Monday to take the oath of office as vice president on Wednesday.
The three Democrats give Biden a narrow advantage to pursue policies that include a fresh wave of relief for a nation hammered by the coronavirus pandemic in the face of deep political divisions.
The new arrangement makes Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer the majority leader, with Republican Mitch McConnell demoted to minority leader.
Schumer and McConnell are in talks about a possible power-sharing deal governing daily Senate operations, similar to one struck two decades ago. Both men favor making such an agreement, but McConnell has asked to keep the rules requiring a supermajority of 60 votes to advance most legislation.
The shifting Senate control has complicated already-delayed efforts to get Biden's Cabinet nominees confirmed.