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Democrats Take Control of Senate

May 24, 2001

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ In a seismic shift of power, Democrats gained control of the Senate for the first time since 1994 when Vermont Sen. James Jeffords abandoned the Republican Party and declared himself an independent Thursday.

He said he found himself increasingly at odds with President Bush and Republican leaders on issues from abortion and education to tax cuts. He said it had become difficult in recent months for Bush and other party leaders ``to deal with me and for me to deal with them.″

``Looking ahead, I can see more and more instances in which I will disagree with the president on fundamental issues,″ Jeffords told a news conference in Burlington, Vt.

Jeffords’ move not only cost Republicans the fragile control they held over a 50-50 Senate but also the ability to move Bush’s agenda through Congess and ratify his judicial nominees.

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