Sen. Mitch McConnell re-elected as majority leader of the U.S. S - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Sen. Mitch McConnell re-elected as majority leader of the U.S. Senate

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Kentucky U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell has been re-elected to his role as majority leader of the U.S. Senate, according to the Associated Press.

Senate Republicans made the decision Wednesday morning -- and came even as the Democrats elected New York Sen. Chuck Schumer as the minority leader.

The decision means McConnell will be a key legislative partner for Donald Trump when he assumes the presidency next year. Last week, in a meeting with reporters, Sen. McConnell said he met with President-elect Trump about what Congress' priorities should be in the coming weeks and months.

"We had a good discussion about things that we're going to be pursuing in Congress," McConnell said. "He met -- as you know -- with the speaker as well. Things you'd expect us to talk about, like the Supreme Court, our concern about Obamacare and our desire to change that. Much of it reflected the positions that he took and that many of us took prior to the election. The American people expect us to pursue the agenda that we talked about, and I’m confident that that’s what we’re going to do."

He said one of the most pressing issues to be decided in the next few weeks is how Congress is going to fund the government, "because the Democratic minority in the Senate made it impossible for us to pass any of the individual appropriations bills that fund the government."

"We now have to figure out how to do that," McConnell said.

McConnell said one thing he brought up that he said Trump could do immediately after assuming office would be to approve the controversial Keystone Pipeline, which he said estimates showed could create up to 20,000 construction jobs, "almost immediately."

"That doesn't directly affect Kentucky, but talk about anxiety about jobs -- particularly jobs for working-class people," McConnell said. "The President sat on the Keystone Pipeline throughout his entire eight years -- even though his own State Department said it had no measurable impact on climate -- in a bow to his extreme environmental supporters."

McConnell said he would also like to end the perceived "war on coal," though he cautioned that, "whether that immediately brings business back – it’s hard to tell, because this is a private sector activity."

"As I've said repeatedly here over the last few years, the war on coal was not a result of anything Congress passed," McConnell said. "There was no new legislation. This was all either executive orders or regulations that the President was involved in unilaterally -- on his own."

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