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Mark Warner Named to Senate Democratic Leadership

Warren and Warner are newly installed members on Senate Democrats' leadership team. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A senator who voted against keeping Harry Reid as the Democratic leader is getting a seat at the leadership table.  

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia is taking on the role of policy development advisor at the Democratic Policy and Communications Center. He joins a leadership team that previously expanded in number with the addition of progressive heroine Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts.  

New York's Charles E. Schumer, the No. 3 Senate Democrat, made the announcement in a statement Friday.  

"Mark is a natural leader in our caucus who will bring a diverse experience of both private sector and public service work to this new role," Schumer said in a statement. "In the next Congress, Mark will work closely with the entire DPCC team to put forward policies and a message that resonate strongly with America's middle class."  

Schumer highlighted the need to emphasize policies for middle-class voters in a speech earlier this week that grabbed headlines for his critique of the timing of consideration of the health care overhaul during the first two years of President Barack Obama's administration.  

“Offering a constructive critic a seat at the leadership table is a positive step," Warner said in a statement about the new role. His addition is notable in part because he disclosed voting against Reid earlier this month after the Democrats' drubbing on Election Day.  

Warner's promotion came little fanfare compared with the Warren announcement, especially given the timing at 5 p.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but it demonstrates the breadth of opinion even within the smaller Senate Democratic caucus next Congress.  

The split is particularly apparent on fiscal matters, as could be seen on the campaign trail in Virginia where Warner won an unexpectedly close re-election campaign against former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie. Warner held campaign events touting fiscal responsibility, even telling a room full of Democrats that some of them might be better off voting for Republicans if they would support a debt and deficit deal that includes revenue increases .  

Former Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat, said in September that his former staffers heard from Warner with some regularity, and that the Virginian was an heir of sorts to his work on debt issues.  

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