By LISA MASCARO AP Congressional Correspondent
WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Chuck Schumer was unanimously elected Thursday for another term as Senate Democratic leader, helming a bolstered 51-seat majority for a new era of divided government in Congress.
Senate Democrats met behind closed doors at the Capitol to choose their leadership team for the new Congress that begins in January.
As Senate majority leader, Schumer has proven to be a surprisingly steady, if frenzied, force amid one of the more consequential sessions of Congress.
He took the helm in the weeks after the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, and led his party through the COVID-19 crisis and unexpected legislative achievements, many of them bipartisan. A former campaign chief, he steered the party to the majority and expanded it to 51 seats with Sen. Raphael Warnock’s special election win Tuesday in Georgia.
Schumer’s reelection puts two New Yorkers at the top of the Democratic leadership in Congress, alongside Rep. Hakeem Jefferies, the incoming House minority leader. Jeffries was elected to lead Democrats after Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to step aside next year.
Senate Democrats are expected to fill out their leadership team with new and returning figures.
Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois is on track for another term in the No. 2 spot. The No. 3 position is to be filled by Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.
With Republicans taking control of the House, it will be a new challenge for Schumer in divided Washington.
Senate Republicans already chose their team, putting Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell on track to become the longest serving party leader in the chamber.
McConnell beat back a rare challenge from Florida GOP Sen. Rick Scott, the party’s campaign chief, who failed to win back the Senate majority for the Republicans.