Senate Republicans re-elect McConnell as leader

Senator Mitch McConnell

Senate Republicans have re-elected Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell to be majority leader when the new Congress convenes in January and starts working on Donald Trump’s agenda.

Mr McConnell is widely popular among Republicans and his election was by acclimation on Wednesday.

The 74-year-old is considered a clever tactician who mixes conservative leanings with a willingness to cut bipartisan deals when necessary.

Mr McConnell was Senate minority leader for eight years before becoming majority leader when the GOP took control in 2015. He enraged Democrats by refusing to let the Senate consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of federal judge Merrick Garland to fill a Supreme Court vacancy last February.

Mr McConnell had distanced himself from President-elect Trump during the campaign, but says he is ready to work with him.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats have elected Chuck Schumer to be their new minority leader when Congress convenes in January.

The New Yorker will be Washington’s most powerful Democrat as the party confronts an all-Republican government led by Donald Trump.

Democrats unanimously picked Mr Schumer at a closed-door meeting on Wednesday.

He will succeed Harry Reid, the combative Nevada Democrat who is retiring in January after 30 years in the Senate.

Republicans will control the White House, the House and Senate.