White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday said Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock’s win in the Georgia Senate runoff election against GOP candidate Herschel Walker gives the Biden administration “a little bit more breathing room.”
The comments came in response to an inquiry from a reporter who asked what Warnock’s win means for possible changes in the Biden administration’s policy agenda and confirmation process.
“When it comes to the Democrats’ legislative agenda, when it comes to the Democrats’ legislative agenda, [it] gives us a little more breathing room, a little bit more ability to deliver for the American people,” Jean-Pierre said.
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She added that the midterm results effectively mean that the American people want Biden’s agenda to continue.
Later, a reporter pressed Jean-Pierre to elaborate on what “more breathing room” looks like as the Biden administration eyes the second half of the president’s term.
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Jean-Pierre was more evasive, downplaying that judicial nominees were on the agenda for President Biden.
“I don’t want to get too far ahead of what the president wants to do,” she said. “Democrats—and not just Democrats, pardon me, but the American people—were very clear on what they wanted to see.”
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She added: “And what you saw Democrats do this past election is run on the president’s agenda, run on an agenda that was successful. This was a success for Democrats, but also for President Biden.”
Warnock defeated Walker in a Georgia runoff election Tuesday, ensuring Democrats an outright majority in the Senate for the rest of Biden’s current term and capping an underwhelming midterm cycle for the GOP in the last major vote of the year.
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With Warnock’s second runoff victory in as many years, Democrats will have a 51-49 Senate majority, gaining a seat from the current 50-50 split with John Fetterman’s victory in Pennsylvania. There will be divided government, however, with Republicans having narrowly flipped House control. Republicans also hold a majority of governorships around the country, and more trifectas—states in which one party controls the governorship and both houses of the state legislature.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.