The Democrats were able to defend their majority in the US Senate in the midterm elections, although the midterms, halfway through a US president’s term in office, are traditionally used by voters to punish the president’s party. With the election victory of the incumbent Senator Catherine Cortez Masto in the state of Nevada, the Democrats have 50 of the 100 seats in the US Senate.

Biden called Masto to congratulate her, according to the White House, and also spoke to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Now all eyes are on Georgia, Biden said. A runoff election will take place there next month, in which the Democrats could win another seat in the Senate.

Schumer said the Democrats’ victory in the Senate would provide a “firewall” against further attempts by Republicans in Congress to further curtail abortion rights — a key issue in the midterm elections. At the same time, he called on both parties to cooperate.