With Vice President Harris swearing in both Georgia Democrats and her replacement, Alex Padilla, Democrats officially took control of the Senate this evening with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer now leading the Most August Deliberative Body and Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy as President Pro Tempore.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is officially Senate majority leader after the inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris and the swearing-in of new Sens. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.).
Why it matters: With a 50-50 Senate, Schumer will control a narrow majority with Harris as the tie-breaking vote. Democratic control of the Senate is crucial to President Biden's agenda, from getting his coronavirus relief proposal passed to forgiving student debt.
The big picture: After more than 20 years in the Senate, Schumer will be taking the position from Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who became majority leader in 2015. McConnell and Schumer met on Tuesday to discuss a power-sharing agreement for the new Senate and to sort out when to hold President Trump's second impeachment trial.
Context: The last time the Senate was divided 50-50 was in 2001, under former President George W. Bush. The Senate agreed on a power-sharing plan that gave Republicans "a narrow advantage on setting the agenda on contentious issues," Roll Call writes.
Yes, but: The parties have become more divided since then and negotiations on how the power-sharing will work are likely to drag along, meaning Biden will not have any confirmed Cabinet members on his first day in office.
Details: Ossoff is Georgia's first Jewish senator. Warnock is Georgia's first Black senator. Padilla is the first Latino senator in California.
One fun thing: As Harris addressed "the certificate of the appointment to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California," she burst into laughter, adding: "Yeah, that was very weird."
New tags for our new Democratic senators. We'll need every one of them. And frankly, Chuck Schumer ain't Harry Reid, who was much better as both Senate Majority Leader and Senate Minority Leader than Schumer is capable of.