Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

McConnell to Lead Senate GOP, Schumer New Democratic Leader

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

McConnell to Lead Senate GOP, Schumer New Democratic Leader

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON * Senate Republicans re-elected Mitch McConnell on Wednesday to be majority leader next year while Democrats picked Chuck Schumer to lead them, setting the chief actors as the chamber prepares for an agenda that will be dominated by Donald Trump and the GOP.

McConnell, 74, is a discreet but deadly master of the Senate's legislative chess game. His role will be to steer GOP bills to the desk of a president whose name he barely spoke during a tumultuous campaign in which many Republicans viewed Trump and his incendiary comments on Muslims, veterans and others as political poison.

"It's time to accept the results of the election, to lower the tone and to see what we can do together to make progress for the country," McConnell, of Kentucky, told reporters Wednesday.

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt was re-elected vice chairman of the U.S. Senate Republican Conference, and Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri was named the top Democrat on the committee overseeing homeland security.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., will remain the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, holding the whip position under Schumer, of New York.

'TOUGH FIGHT'

"Where we can work together we will," Schumer told reporters about Trump, with whom he shares an affection for TV soundbites and sharp elbows. But Schumer said he had also told the president- elect, "On issues where we disagree, you can expect a strong and tough fight."

Schumer has mentioned infrastructure as an area of potential cooperation.

As Senate minority leader, Schumer, who replaces retiring Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, will assume his weakened party's most powerful remaining post as it struggles to define its role in a Republican- dominated government.

Schumer announced a broad 10-member leadership team, ranging from liberals such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, to moderates such as West Virginia's Joe Manchin. …

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