President Trump’s legislative agenda took a major hit on Nov. 6 as the Democrats are poised to be the majority in the House of Representatives for the first time since 2010. Democrats were able to flip more than two-dozen house seats to secure the majority. On Wednesday afternoon, the likely Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi offered an “olive-branch” of sorts stating, “We believe that we have a responsibility to seek common ground where we can. Openness and transparency, accountability [and] bipartisanship [are] a very important part of how we will go forward.” (NPR). Although Democrats may seek some compromises, these words will likely prove to be futile. Ever since the election of Donald Trump, Democrats have been itching for the opportunity to not only block his legislative agenda, but to have the subpoena power to hold the President and his cabinet members accountable. After this midterm victory, Democrats dreams will soon come true once the gavel is handed to Congresswoman Pelosi.
Many feel that Republican held committees failed to properly defend the integrity of our democracy, and thus, Democrats will soon be sending subpoena after subpoena to the White House. Specifically, Democrats are likely to look into the numerous scandals that have occurred in the Trump administration, including at the EPA and at other departments. Expect Democrats to push for President Trump’s tax returns in what may end up being a legal battle between the administration and House Democrats. President Trump has repeatedly stated that he has no interest in releasing his tax returns, however, many legal experts believe that he may not have a choice. “A 1924 law allows the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee to examine anyone’s tax returns in private, without their permission, and the likely incoming chairman, Massachusetts Democrat Richard Neal, has said he’d go after Trump’s IRS filings” (Politico). Additionally, Democrats will use their new majority power to protect the Muller Investigation and to open their own investigations into whether President Trump obstructed justice by firing former FBI Director James Comey.
Although the Republicans lost the House, they made significant gains in the Senate. They flipped seats in Missouri, North Dakota, and Indiana; states which Trump carried by large margins in 2016. Votes are still being counted in an incredibly close race in Arizona between Republican Martha McSally and Democrat Kyrstin Sinema. Governor Rick Scott claimed victory in the senate race in Florida, however, his opponent Democrat Bill Nelson, is calling for a recount. The odds do not favor Senator Nelson as it seems that Governor Scott has enough votes to overcome the recount. Democrats were able to flip one Senate seat with Representative Jacky Rosen’s victory in Nevada. With firm control over the Senate, Republicans will be able to confirm more conservative judges to the nations courts. Expect to see Senator McConnell attempt to confirm as many judges as possible through 2020.
We are headed toward something that is all too familiar in Washington D.C. today, partisan gridlock. With Democrats in control of the House and Republicans in control of the Senate, expect to see an even more dysfunctional Washington D.C. There are however two key issues where there is a possibility for compromise. Democrats now have leverage to try to find a permanent solution for the recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. If Trump wants any of his spending priorities to pass, he may have to find a bipartisan solution on DACA. Infrastructure is also issue where there could be a possibility for bipartisanship. President Trump as well as both Democrats and Republicans in Congress want to see our nation’s roads and tunnels fixed. Perhaps this is one issue where Democrats and Republicans can work together. Although it is possible that we could see a semi-functional American government, in the age of deep partisanship, however, it is likely that neither party has any true interest in governance.