- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Was Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer joking when he told former Vice President Joseph R. Biden on Wednesday that Democrats would love to have him back in the saddle in the middle of big negotiations?

Mr. Biden returned to the Senate, where he spent three decades as a member from Delaware, for the swearing-in of Sen. Doug Jones, the Democrat who scored an upset victory in Alabama’s special election last month. Mr. Jones had Mr. Biden at his side rather than Sen. Richard Shelby, the state’s senior Republican senator, breaking with usual practice.

After Mr. Jones was sworn in by current Vice President Mike Pence, Mr. Biden made the rounds of the room, glad-handing with former colleagues — at which point Mr. Schumer told him they wished he were back in the saddle.

“We need your help,” Mr. Schumer said, referring to “negotiations.”

Mr. Schumer is slated to meet with top White House officials later in the day to try to make progress on spending caps, a key children’s health insurance program and a solution to illegal immigrant Dreamers’ long-term status.

Mr. Biden, during his time as vice president, was known for being the Obama administration’s key deal-maker, having a knack for working with Sen. Mitch McConnell, Republicans’ floor leader.

Mr. Biden and Mr. Pence were joined on the Senate floor by former Vice President Walter Mondale, who was in the chamber to stand next to Sen. Tina Smith, who was appointed to fill out the term of Al Franken, who resigned in disgrace after facing a series of accusations of sexual misconduct late last year.

Mr. Biden took a pass at making his own bid for the White House in 2016, but some pundits hope he’ll consider a bid in 2020, saying he could put together a Democratic coalition capable of beating President Trump.

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