The PJ Tatler

McConnell Unanimously Elected Senate Majority Leader

The new Senate GOP leadership team was elected by the caucus this morning, and it looks very familiar.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) won the majority leader post in the 114th Congress by a “unanimous” vote, his office said this morning.

Not only did Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) vote for McConnell, but the new majority leader got a standing ovation inside the caucus room.

Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) will become majority whip, pulling the caucus together on key votes.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) remains conference chairman, the No. 3 GOP leadership post. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) was re-elected vice-chairman.

“I believe we have the tools necessary to ensure the Senate will function again in a more transparent and accountable way for the American people,” Blunt said afterward.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) remains Republican Policy Committee chairman.

“Republicans will be focused on what the American people are focused on,” Barrasso said of the 114th Congress goals. “We will present our ideas, fully debate them and pass bills that make it easier for people to find good jobs, quality healthcare, and affordable energy. We will also work to strengthen our national security and protect our homeland. It is our duty to reflect the will of voters and get the policy right.”

The only leadership change was at the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm of the Congress. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) is stepping aside after a very successful year.

It was the only competitive leadership race. Sens. Roger Wicker (Miss.) and Dean Heller (Nev.) lobbied their colleagues to win the position, and in the end Wicker was victorious. It won’t be an easy job, as Republicans must defend 24 seats in a presidential election year while Democrats only have to defend 10.

“I intend to roll up my sleeves immediately to ensure that we have the resources available to preserve our Republican majority,” Wicker said in a statement. “This Senate Republican leadership team is ready to go to bat for the American people, and I am proud to be a part of it.”