Obama's Policies in Peril as Republic-led Congress Convenes
Jan 04, 2017 11:57 AM EST
The ambitious, most powerful Republican-led US Congress in 20 years will assemble today. Expert predicts that it will leave its mark to American life, refashioning the country's social safety net, and eliminating scores of labour and environmental regulations while at the same time unraveling some of the most significant policy prescriptions by Obama's Administrations.
According to The New York Times, Republicans plan quick action on several of their top priorities such as a measure to clear a path to repeal Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) - giving their party full control of the government even before the inauguration of Trump on Jan 20.
Amongst the first few things that will happen would perhaps include the push of deregulation, filling a long-vacant Supreme Court seat - which will set off a showdown, and starting confirmation hearings for Trump's Cabinet nominees. Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader describes that "they (the Party) intend to do it and it is a big job to actually have responsibility and produce results".
While the Republicans plan to reserve their more partisan goal on their first 100 days of Congress, Democrats on the other hand is preparing roadblocks, given their unhealed wounds from the election results - salted by alleged evidence of Russian interference, Trump's hardline Cabinet picks and his taunting Twitter posts.
Trump on Saturday offered his New Year wishes to all - including those who fought against him and lost so badly, they just don't know what to do. Apart from the Democrats, obstacles are also likely to come from the Republicans itself, who are divided on how to proceed with the healthcare law and a pledge to rewrite the tax code.
The path to this moment has long been paved transparently for the Republicans as the House in particular signalled the Republican Policy vision through Bill passing for years. Many of those measures, however, have been doused in Veto ink or gathered dust in the Senate.
The division between the two chambers recalls the situation occurred in the mid-1990's, faced by the insurgent House Republican majority - where House Speaker Newt Gingrich took control with a determined agenda, but turned over by Mr Bob Dole, the Senate majority leader, who stacked conservative House Bills like fire logs back of the Senate Chamber.
Former Republican Senate majority leader stated that they (the present Republicans) "have been given a golden opportunity here."
"But I have watched over the years when one party has had control of the White House and the Senate and the House, and the danger is overplaying your hand. If you go too far like what happened with Obamacare, and you get no support at all from the other side, you have a problem," Mr Lott continued, adding that they have to find a way to work with people across the aisle who will work with them.
The infrastructure Bill and tax overhaul could be the two opportunites for bipartisan cooperation as the Senate Finance Committee is already moving towards that direction. Still, despite promises to the contrary from Trump's chief Reince Priebus - both issues expected to remain on the back burner
The Senate may be narrowly divided, but among the 48 senators in the Democratic caucus are 10 who will stand for re-election in two years in states that voted for Mr Trump. Republicans are counting on their support, at least some of the time.
Though the Senate may be narrowly divided, there will be 10 out of 48 senators in the Democratic caucus who will stand for re-election in two years in states that voted for President-elect Trump. Republicans, for at least some of the time are counting on their support.
The Republicans, while may have a rare chance to open the flow of legislation, their leaders are acutely aware of the punishment historically delivered by the Americans in midterm elections when things have not gone well.
"You have to perform. This is no time for hubris," said McConnell.