Democrats now have leverage in Congress following Georgia senate runoff result

The Georgia Senate runoff is over. The Democrats won, and now holds an outright majority in the US Senate of 51 to 49. 

Sen. Raphael Warnock claimed victory late Tuesday night in a tight runoff race for U.S. Senate. Warnock beat out Republican challenger Herschel Walker, a Georgia football legend. 

This after two years of a 5050 split. So what happens now? 

Katie Naranjo, chair of the Travis County Democratic Party, and Matt Mackowiak, chair of the Travis County GOP, joined FOX 7 Austin's Mike Warren to discuss.

MIKE WARREN: You both predicted the correct outcome of this election. Matt Mackowiak, what's what's now the most significant new thing about this Senate with this majority?

MATT MACKOWIAK: Well, there is, I think, two things that have changed. One is, I think the 51-49 majority does change things for the Senate Democrats. It gives them larger numbers on committees. It allows them to use subpoena power, allows them to move judges through the Judiciary Committee. So they'll have some power in a sense that they didn't have over the last two years. Now, the other factor is that Republicans have taken the House majority. And so instead of being able to almost do anything they want with House Democrats and Senate Democrats sticking together, they're not going to have content with the Republican majority House. And so, you know, obviously, the Democrats still have the White House. And so Republicans only have one half of one third of the federal government. But we do have a seat at the table. We do have some leverage. And we're going to be passing clearly things that we promised the voters that we would pass starting in January.

MIKE WARREN: You know, Katie, how are Senate Democrats going to be able to use this additional seat? 

KATIE NARANJO: There are quite a few items from the Democratic agenda, but I think also the people's agenda, what the American people want to see when it comes to our domestic economy, when it comes to affordability, an economy that actually represents workers, when we're talking about issues of a living wage and the minimum wage, when we're talking about housing prices and affordability, when we're talking about what people want to see in terms of their individual rights, whether it's voting rights, civil rights or abortion rights. And so this gives Democrats the ability to advance those various agendas, including insulating our economy from the price gouging that we're seeing at the gas pumps. So these are all great things that Democrats can now move forward.

MIKE WARREN: Okay. Matt Mackowiak, you know, this was mentioned somewhat yesterday. This Democratic majority weakens Senator Manchin's power to force bipartisan compromise. And. And Senator Cinema from Arizona, they had a lot of power. They have a little less now, is that correct?

Matt Mackowiak: Yeah, because if mansion and cinema stuck together, then the Democrats couldn't do things to the Senate. We saw that on Build Back Better. We saw a couple of other things that the Democrats wanted to do. Now they just need to win one or the other. If they can hold one of the two votes, cinema was in cycle. Actually, they're both in cycle. In 2024. They're going to have content with the electorate in their home states, both in terms of primary elections and general elections. So it does make them a little bit less powerful. But if they stay together, as they have through much the last two years, they'll still have a good amount of power more than the average senator.

MIKE WARREN: Okay. You know, Katie. Judicial appointments, are they now presumably a done deal for the Biden administration?

KATIE NARANJO: They're much more likely to happen now. We all know that McConnell was blocking any of the appointments, essentially, and really still meeting it for President Biden. And so now there is the ability to have a government that works. And I think that's what Americans want to see, whether it's the slim margin the Republicans have in the House or the slim margin the Democrats have in the Senate is that Americans are tired of extremes on both ends and hyper partizanship on both ends and the gridlock that has made it impossible for our government to move, you know, most sizable legislation forward. Americans want solutions, not finger pointing. And I think that's what the Democrats in the Senate are looking forward to. 

MIKE WARREN: Katie Naranjo, Matt Markovic, thank you both very much.