Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has been appointed to replace former Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., who was sworn in as attorney general Thursday morning.
Strange, who was formally appointed by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley Thursday morning, was scheduled to be sworn in as Sessions’ replacement Thursday afternoon.
Republicans, who hold a 52-seat majority in the Senate, moved quickly to ensure that there were enough votes on hand to support upcoming confirmations of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet members. Votes on Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., to be the secretary of health and human services, and Steven Mnuchin as treasury secretary are expected to be party-line votes. Republicans need all 52 GOP seats filled in case of any defections, as happened during the confirmation process for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Bentley said Strange would be a senator in the mold of Sessions.
“Alabama has surely been well represented by Senator Sessions, and I am confident Senator Strange will serve as a fine representative for our people. His leadership on a national level, service as a statewide elected official and long record of taking on tough federal issues are the very qualities that will make him a strong conservative Senator for Alabama,” Bentley said in a statement.
Attorney General Luther Strange Statement on Accepting Appointment to United States Senate https://t.co/wLVVu5UqaB
— Luther Strange (@AGLutherStrange) February 9, 2017
In his statement after the appointment, Strange said, “Senator Sessions’ commitment to public service is nearly unparalleled in Alabama history and his departure from the Senate leaves tremendous shoes to fill.”
“I pledge to the people of Alabama to continue the same level of leadership as Jeff Sessions in consistently fighting to protect and advance the conservative values we all care about,” he said.
Strange will serve until a special election is held to fill the remainder of Sessions term, which ends in 2020. That election is expected to be held in 2018.
As Strange began his career as a senator, Sessions was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence during an Oval Office ceremony.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 9, 2017
President Donald Trump praised Sessions as “a man of integrity, a man of principle and a man of total, utter resolve.”
“He has devoted his life to the cause of justice and believes deeply that all people are equals in the eyes of the law — and very importantly for Jeff and so many of us, also in the eyes of God,” Trump said.
Sessions vowed that as attorney general he would target the crime problem that he said is a “dangerous permanent trend that places the safety of the American people at risk.” He also said the “increased threat from terrorism” requires him to “respond effectively.”
Sessions also said America needs “a lawful system of immigration.”
“We need to end this lawlessness that threatens the public safety,” he said.
Sessions was expected to visit the Justice Department Thursday afternoon.
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