Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday becomes the chamber's longest-serving party leader as the new Congress begins.
McConnell, 80, who became GOP leader in 2007, will surpass former Sen. Mike Mansfield, D-Mont., the Democrats' leader for 16 years (1961-77).
McConnell planned to mark his tenure with a speech, from the Senate floor, paying tribute to Mansfield, Axios reported.
"The greatest honor of my career is representing the Commonwealth of Kentucky in this chamber and fighting for my fellow Kentuckians," McConnell plans to say, Axios reported.
"But the second-greatest honor is the trust that my fellow Republican Senators have placed in me to lead our diverse Conference and help them achieve their goals."
McConnell, who was elected to the chamber in 1984, survived a challenge from Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., after the midterm elections in November and was reelected party leader.
McConnell previously served as Senate GOP whip from 2003-07 under then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., a close ally of former President George W. Bush.
As minority leader, McConnell had warned Democrats and then-Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., not to change the filibuster rules. However, McConnell later became leader and exploited the change to win confirmation for three of then-President Donald Trump's Supreme Court justices.
McConnell and Trump became adversaries after the leader blamed Trump for instigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack.
Trump gave McConnell the nickname the "Old Crow."
Ten of McConnell's 16 years as Republican leader have been under Democrat Presidents Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
Although he angered Democrats by refusing to give Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, a floor vote after the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016, McConnell has worked with the other party to make permanent most of George W. Bush's tax cuts, and last year when he voted for Biden's $1 trillion infrastructure plan.
McConnell also never had more than 54 Republicans, and as few as 40, during his tenure.
Mansfield never had fewer than 54 Democrat senators and often had more than 60.
As McConnell continues as GOP leader in the Senate, House counterpart Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is fighting to become the next speaker.
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