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Georgia Democrats report to work on Capitol Hill

Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 4:28 PM EST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - With Georgia’s two new Senators reporting to work in DC this week, the U.S. Senate is now tipped in favor of the Democrats, delivering a win for the new Biden administration. Democrats are now in control of the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate and the White House.

Georgia Democratic Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock were sworn into office Wednesday by Vice President Kamala Harris.

Ossoff, 33, is now the youngest member in the chamber and the first Jewish Georgia Senator. Warnock is now the first African American Senator to represent the Peach State.

“I’m very elated,” said Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.).

Congressman Sanford Bishop says he hopes Democrats now have the votes to raise the minimum wage, improve racial equality and bail-out distressed state and local governments.

As a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Bishop shares strong ties with Warnock, a pastor who preaches from the same pulpit as the late Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. in Atlanta.

Bishop is proud of Warnock’s win, as he is also a fellow native Georgian and Morehouse College graduate.

“I believe that his heart is in the right place,” said Bishop. “And of course in the United States Senate, his ministry will be greatly expanded to bring belief to the people from Georgia as well as people across the country.”

Georgia GOP Congressman Austin Scott says he wants to reach across the aisle and work with these two new Democratic Senators, but says they differ on a number on policies. He thinks it may be challenging to find common ground on social issues, such as abortion.

“I’m on the Ag committee and Armed Services committee, so those are two areas that are extremely important to Georgia’s economy. I hope we’re able to work together on those issue,” said Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.).

Scott says he’s disappointed Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue lost their seats, especially given Perdue’s power on Capitol Hill.

“I’m extremely concerned…we have nine major military installations in the state of Georgia, and the loss of David in that position on the Senate Armed Services committee is very concerning to me,” said Scott.

But Emory professor of political science and African American studies, Pearl Dowe, says because Ossoff and Warnock’s wins flipped the balance of power to the Democrats in the Senate, they may have more influence than other freshman lawmakers.

“It would actually elevate the profile of the state, and it will actually give these two new Senators some leverage in how they negotiate on behalf of the state,” said Pearl Dowe, PhD, Emory professor.

The Senate is now 50-50 split with Vice President Harris able to cast tie-breaking votes.

Ossoff and Warnock have not yet been assigned to Senate committees. Those decisions will play a key role in the type of work they focus on in Washington.

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