Senate swears in 2 new Democrats as budget, immigration talks intensify


Two Democratic senators were sworn in on Wednesday afternoon prior to the commencement of the second session of the 115th Congress.

The U.S. Senate has two new members today - Doug Jones, whose race in Alabama against Judge Roy Moore caught the nation's attention, and Tina Smith of Minnesota.

Longtime friend and former Vice President Joe Biden escorted Jones to the ceremony.

Vice President Mike Pence, a Republican, delivered the oath to Democrats Smith and Doug Jones of Alabama at 11:04 a.m.

In an interview with during the campaign, Jones made clear his absolute support for abortion, saying he's a "firm believer that a woman should have [the] freedom to choose what happens to her own body".

"I'm hoping to be a good senator", Jones told reporters as he walked through the Capitol on Wednesday before he was sworn in.

Notably, Smith served as vice president of external affairs for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota from 2003 to 2006, according to her LinkedIn Account. When Bachmann was the representative for Minnesota's 6th Congressional District for 8 years she claimed: that HPV vaccine leads to mental retardation, that the United States Federal Government was infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood, Obama was born in Kenya, and that Trump was sent by God because of transgender rights. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who officially resigned on Tuesday after allegations of sexual misconduct emerged past year, The Hill reported.

She becomes the 22nd woman in a chamber that remains heavily lopsided in favor of men. Smith was appointed to the seat by Gov. Mark Dayton and will fill it at least until a special election in November.

BAKST: Smith must now get acclimated to the Senate while building a statewide campaign.

Yet, Jones has positioned himself as a moderate on many issues. He formally surrendered the seat on Tuesday - the same day Smith stepped down as lieutenant governor of Minnesota.

"Minnesota has more people with health insurance than nearly any other state, yet I have talked to farmers who have lost access to their longtime doctors and can't afford their health insurance premiums", she said.

It may be akin to her bid for the presidency in 2012, when she said she felt a "calling" to run for the higher office.