WASHINGTON (AP) – Two former vice presidents stood beside the Senate’s newest senators on the Senate floor as the two Democrats took their oaths of office.
Former Vice President Joseph Biden was next to Alabama Democrat Doug Jones as he was sworn in Wednesday. Former Vice President Walter Mondale – himself a former Minnesota senator – stood next to Tina Smith.
Swearing the newcomers into office was the current vice president, Mike Pence.
Jones attracted national attention and gave his party a boost of election-year momentum when he defeated conservative GOP candidate Roy Moore in last month’s special election in Alabama.
Smith was her state’s lieutenant governor when Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton appointed her to replace Sen. Al Franken. He resigned after a series of sexual harassment accusations.
Vice President Mike Pence has sworn into office the two newest members of the Senate, Democrats Doug Jones of Alabama and Tina Smith of Minnesota.
Jones is the first Alabama Democrat elected to the Senate in a quarter-century. His victory over Roy Moore in the deeply conservative state has narrowed the Republican majority in the Senate to 51-49.
Jones is filling a vacancy that arose from the resignation of Jeff Sessions to serve as the nation’s attorney general.
Smith is the former lieutenant governor of Minnesota, appointed by the state’s governor to replace Democratic Sen. Al Franken, who resigned after being accused of sexual misconduct.
Two Democrats are set to be sworn into the U.S. Senate, narrowing the Republican majority and complicating efforts by GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to advance the White House’s legislative agenda before the November midterm elections.
Doug Jones of Alabama is one of two new members who will take the oath of office on the Senate floor at noon Wednesday.
The other is Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, who was appointed to replace Democrat Al Franken. Franken resigned effective Tuesday after being accused of sexual misconduct.
They will narrow the Republican majority to 51-49.
Jones will represent one of the most conservative states and is stressing his desire to work with lawmakers from both parties. He is the first Alabama Democrat elected to the Senate in a quarter century.