Mitch McConnell Becomes Longest-Serving Senate Leader

January 3, 2023

When the 118th Congress convenes at 12pm Eastern Time on Tuesday Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will have reached a milestone as the longest-serving Senate leader in U.S. history.

McConnell, after serving 16 years leading the Senate Republican conference, surpasses former Democratic Senator Mike Mansfield of Montana.

The Kentucky Senator planned to mark the occasion with a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon, during which he would note the different leadership styles of some of his predecessors, including two from FDR’s era, one who pushed for the New Deal and one who clashed with FDR’s tax policies, respectively: Joseph Taylor Robinson (D-AR) and Alben Barkley (D-KY). 

The 80-year-old McConnell was elected to the Senate in 1984 and replaced Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) as Republican Leader in 2007 after serving as party Whip from 2003 to 2007.  

McConnell has been known for bare-knuckle partisanship at times, for instance when in October 23, 2010, he said, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term President.”

But on Wednesday McConnell, who was one of 19 Senate Republicans to vote in 2021 for the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastucture bill, plans to join President Biden, his state’s Democratic Governor Andy Beshar and Ohio’s Republican Governor Mike DeWine at a ceremony highlighting funding from the bill being used to make long-needed upgrades to the heavily-traveled Brent Spence Bridge between Kentucky and Ohio.

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