Senate Republicans re-elect Mitch McConnell to be majority leader

Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks from the chamber as Republicans pushed legislation toward Senate approval that would demolish President Barack Obama's signature health care law and halt Planned Parenthood's federal money, setting up a veto fight the GOP knows it will lose but thinks will delight conservative voters in next year's elections, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. McConnell said Thursday that the Affordable Care Act is "punctuated with hopelessness," as he blamed it for rising medical costs and problems encountered by Kentuckians. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) – 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.

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.

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. That paid dividends when Trump was elected president.

McConnell distanced himself from Trump during the campaign, but says he’s ready to work with him.

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