What to Know in Washington: Warnock Seals Senate Incumbent Wins

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US Senators on the ballot in 2022 had an election year for the history books.

For the first time in the more than 100 years that voters have elected senators, all senators who sought re-election this year won.

The sweep was completed Tuesday by Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), who defeated Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a runoff. Democrats increased their Senate majority by one, to 51-49, after successfully defending all 15 of their seats that were at stake and capturing a Pennsylvania seat from Republican control.

Photographer: Dustin Chambers/Bloomberg
Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) speaks during a campaign event in Norcross, Georgia, on Tuesday.

Republicans won 20 Senate elections but faltered in Pennsylvania, where Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) beat Mehmet Oz (R) by 5 percentage points, and also failed to unseat vulnerable Democratic incumbents in states including Georgia, where Warnock beat Walker by 2.8 points; Nevada, where Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) edged former state attorney general Adam Laxalt (R) by 0.8 points; and Arizona, where Sen. Mark Kelly (D) beat Blake Masters (R) by 5 points.

Democrats may face an even stiffer test to hold their majority in the 2024 election, when they’ll be defending 23 Senate seats compared to just 11 for Republicans.

While several senators had close races Nov. 8, no incumbent came close to being unseated in the primary. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the only Republican senator who sought re-election in 2022 after voting to convict Donald Trump at his second impeachment trial, defeated pro-Trump Republican Kelly Tshibaka after Alaska ended party primaries and implemented a nonpartisan blanket primary and ranked-choice-voting general election.

In 2010, Murkowski was re-elected as a write-in candidate after losing the Republican primary. Read more from Greg Giroux.

Related: Democrats Expand Senate Lead With Warnock Victory in Georgia

US Congress to Boost Defense Funds, Scrap Military Vaccine Rules

US defense spending could soar by $45 billion this fiscal year under a compromise defense authorization bill, which also hands GOP lawmakers a victory by removing a Pentagon mandate for Covid vaccines.

The boost to defense spending underscores bipartisan concern about rising inflation, strategic competition with China, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The bulk of the increase would go to the Pentagon as it makes up the majority of national defense spending.

Lawmakers have been wrangling over how high national security spending should go to surpass US inflation this year during deliberations on defense policy and appropriations legislation. The defense authorization outcome deals a rebuke to President Joe Biden, who proposed a total $813 billion for national security programs in his budget blueprint. Republicans got another victory by requiring the defense secretary to rescind the mandate that all troops receive the Covid-19 vaccination.

The annual defense policy bill is considered must-pass because it authorizes pay increases as well as pay for troops. It also sets personnel, weapons-buying, and geopolitical policies. This year, the final compromise measure was negotiated behind closed doors by leaders of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees as well as Senate and House leadership.

The defense measure authorizes almost $858 billion for national defense programs, including $817 billion for the Pentagon and $30 billion for national security projects at the Department of Energy. Roxana Tiron has more details.

Defense Bill Ins and Outs

Defense Policy Bill Excludes Manchin Energy Permitting Changes

The annual defense policy bill released Tuesday night excludes controversial changes to the federal permitting process for energy projects that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) sought to include, likely punting any action on the proposal to the next Congress.

Boeing’s Bid for Reprieve on 737 Left Out of Defense Measure

A must-pass defense bill in Congress excludes a measure to give Boeing a reprieve by allowing certification work to proceed on two new 737 Max models, dealing a temporary setback to the company.

Cannabis Measure Left Off Defense Bill in Setback for Industry

A marijuana banking measure was left out of a must-pass defense bill, significantly narrowing the chances that legislation to clear the way for legal cannabis businesses to use the financial system can get passed before Democrats lose control of the House in January.

Journalism Compensation Proposal Omitted From Defense Package

A bill that would empower news organizations to negotiate pay from big tech companies that carry their content has been dropped from a defense package after lawmakers from both sides of the aisle raised concerns about how it would affect the news ecosystem.

Antibiotic Investment Bill Excluded From Defense Package

A bill that would give $6 billion to antibiotic developers failed to make it into a defense spending package that a bipartisan group of sponsors had sought as a vehicle for passage.

Congress Eyes Defense Bill to Scrub Personal Addresses Online

Lawmakers in both parties are looking to use the annual defense authorization bill as a vehicle to enact changes protecting their private home addresses amid rising threats.

Also Happening on the Hill


  • House members meet at 2 p.m. to tackle defense and immigration bills.
  • Senators convene at 10 a.m. with several judge votes planned.

Addiction, Mental Health Deal Gets Push as Time Ebbs in Congress

Lawmakers are pushing to attach bills to address addiction and mental health to a must-pass federal spending bill, hoping to reach a year-end deal before Congress adjourns.

Abandoned Oil Wells Would Get Cleanup in Bipartisan Senate Bill

Bipartisan Senate legislation expected Wednesday would set aside more than $160 million over five years for new technology to clean up abandoned oil and gas wells and use them for alternative purposes, including renewable energy.

Senate Sends ‘Tiger King’-Style Big Cat Bill to Biden’s Desk

The Senate on Tuesday cleared legislation that would ban private ownership of big cats like lions and jaguars, as depicted in Netflix’s Tiger King crime documentary series, sending the measure to President Joe Biden for his signature.

BlackRock, Vanguard Blasted by GOP Senators for ESG Proxy Voting

Republicans in the US Senate are amping up efforts to rein in BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard Group on environmental, social and governance issues — a preview of a fight looming when the GOP takes control of the House next month.

Immigration Pitch Gets Cautious Reception With Details in Flux

A bipartisan Senate duo faces an uphill effort to build support for a last-ditch immigration proposal, as most of their colleagues ask: What’s the deal?

World Trade Center Health Program Boost Could Ride on Omnibus

The New York congressional delegation is working to include more than $3 billion in a must-pass, year-end spending package to shore up the World Trade Center Health Program created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Democrats Pick Spanberger to Represent Vulnerable House Members

House Democrats on Tuesday elected Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) to a new leadership position representing fellow incumbents in competitive districts.

Around the Administration


  • Biden has no public events planned.
  • Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds a press briefing at 2 p.m.

Biden Joins Tim Cook to Hail TSMC’s $40 Billion US Chip Venture

Biden celebrated Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.’s plans to increase its investments in Arizona to $40 billion and construct a second factory, with companies like Apple eager to source more chips from the US.

Microsoft to Meet with FTC Chair Lina Khan on Activision Deal

Microsoft executives are set to meet with US Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan and other commissioners Wednesday to make its final case in favor of its deal to buy gaming studio Activision, a person familiar with the meetings said.

Emhoff to Condemn ‘Epidemic of Hate’ at Event on Antisemitism

Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff plans to urge Americans to speak out against an “epidemic of hate” during an event with Jewish leaders highlighting the rise of antisemitism in the US. “We cannot normalize this. We all have an obligation to condemn these vile acts. We must not stay silent. There is no either or. There are no two sides,” Emhoff plans to say Wednesday, according to excerpts of remarks released by his office.

US Will Increase Troop Rotations in Australia, Austin Says

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin says the US will increase rotational presence of its forces in Australia.

Cyber Agency’s Advisers to Tackle Corporate Responsibilities

The director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency plans to task an advisory panel with examining corporate cyber responsibility in the year ahead.

USDA to Publish Cattle Prices in Bid to Boost Beef Transparency

The federal government will publish information on the contracts between meatpackers and cattle producers, including prices paid and amount purchased, in a pilot program aimed at making beef markets more transparent.

Blue Origin Takes Up Fight to Win Second Lunar Lander Contract

Blue Origin is assembling a team of space contracting heavyweights, including Lockheed Martin and Boeing to compete for a hefty payday from NASA to design an additional lander for the mission to return humans to the moon.

To contact the reporters on this story: Michaela Ross in Washington at mross@bgov.com;

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrew Small at asmall@bgov.com;

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