WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts was sworn in as the most recent member of the U.S. Senate on Monday, changing Republican Sen. Ben Sasse because the Senate returns from a number of weeks of recess to start a brand new session of closely-divided authorities.
Ricketts is bringing the Senate again to its “full 100-person power,” mentioned Republican chief Mitch McConnell, who welcomed Ricketts on the Senate ground after he was sworn into workplace by Vice President Kamala Harris.
The Republican is becoming a member of the Senate as Democrats navigate a 51-49 majority, having gained one seat in final yr’s election and with newly-Impartial Sen. Kyrsten Sinema accepting committee assignments from Democrats. Ricketts replaces Sasse, who took a job because the president of the College of Florida two years into his second time period.
Ricketts was appointed by his successor and political ally, Republican Gov. Jim Pillen, and must run in a particular election in 2024 to fill out the remainder of Sasse’s time period. If he wins, he would then run once more in 2026 for a full six-year time period.
The previous governor was congratulated by Republicans and Democrats on the Senate ground. As is custom, he was accompanied by Republican Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska as he walked down the principle aisle and stood on the Senate dais to take the oath of workplace.
Sasse was a fiercely unbiased Republican senator who usually saved to himself and was a harsh critic of former President Donald Trump, particularly after the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol rebel. Sasse was one in all seven Republicans who voted to question the president shortly afterward, and Trump regularly lashed out at him.
Regardless that he was simply re-elected in 2020, Sasse spoke of “ups and downs” of his Senate profession in a December farewell speech, saying his tenure “felt like a noogie and a slap and a head butt and a hug suddenly.”
Ricketts additionally has an advanced relationship with the previous president, who has criticized him and his household for supporting Republican candidates who he opposed, together with Pillen. Trump backed one in all Pillen’s main opponents, Charles W. Herbster.
Nominating Ricketts earlier this month, after Sasse’s departure, Pillen mentioned that 111 individuals utilized for the vacant seat and 9 Republicans had been interviewed. He mentioned he selected Ricketts primarily based on their shared conservatism and Ricketts’ promise that he would later run to be elected to the seat.
“I don’t consider in placeholders,” Pillen mentioned. “Placeholders don’t have any accountability to the individuals.”
Whereas the brand new GOP senator’s politics replicate his conservative constituents, some politicians in each events raised questions on his appointment. Ricketts, who has put his personal web value at about $50 million, contributed greater than $100,000 of his personal cash to Pillen’s marketing campaign.
Ricketts and his members of the family have used their fortunes to each push their political agendas and to get allies elected to key political seats. Ricketts’ father, TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, is value an estimated $4 billion.
McConnell praised Ricketts’ service in Nebraska and mentioned the rich investor has “utilized personal sector savvy to the work of public administration with nice impact.”
“The individuals of Nebraska selected correctly in electing and re-electing Gov. Ricketts by enormous margins, and their new governor selected correctly in sending his predecessor right here to this chamber.”