Voters overwhelmingly supported the Democrats to take over majority in the House, ending an eight year reign in that branch of government for the GOP on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
However the Republicans maintained control in the rest of government.
The once-conservative House seats were filled by a diversity of candidates, many of them women, first-time contenders or both.
Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi, who is expected to return as House speaker, said the party needs to focus on keeping the current president’s power needs and combating corruption.
“We will have a Congress that is open, transparent and accountable to the American people,” Pelosi said on election night.
Under a Democrat-controlled House, any aspirations for conservative corporate tax reform or the repeal of Obamacare will “be extremely difficult if not impossible,” said Dr. Rebecca Eissler, SF State Political Science assistant professor.
“Now that the Democratic Party controls the agenda in the House, [it] can decide what issues to put to a vote or not,” said Eissler.
Democrats are expected to flex their power in January through investigations in questionable ethics clouding the presidency — particularly on his finances.
Committees, such as the Judiciary, the Ways and Means or Oversight and Government Reform, are expected to pursue investigations into the administration.
Democrat stalwart and congressman Adam Schiff is anticipated to replace California Republican Devin Nunes as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
In an interview with politico, Schiff said he wants to leave “no stone unturned” in investigating potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.
Trump threatened that he would take “a warlike posture” should the Democrats choose to investigate him, and he would order his own investigations into the Democratic Party.
Ways and Means iis just one of the committees that could pursue the president’s tax returns, which he has thus far refused to release. The Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation — has the ability to request a person’s tax returns under the tax code.
The chairman would need to submit a written request to the IRS. Should the Treasury Department deny it, House Democrats would have to decide whether to pursue the tax returns through a legal route. If and once obtained, the chairman would have to designate the panel’s investigative members as “agents” to read the returns. Following an, ideally, thorough review a vote would take place to discern if the documents should be made public and report them to the entire House.
For any of the afore mentioned to take place,a new investigative crew would need to be drafted. Back in 2011 Republicans staffed an additional 40 members to their Oversight Committee, doubling their initial numbers from 40 to 80.
In the wake of a forlorn republican house Trump expressed determination to work together, while threatening retaliation if they chose a course he would no approve of.
“I’d like to see bipartisanship, I’d like to see unity,” said Trump during a press conference following the midterm elections, “they can play that game, but we can play it better.”
However, Pelosi suggested that there were some liberal desires would not be pursued. Chief among those was her declination to chase a presidential impeachment. Regardless of the avenue the house chases, life for the Trump Administration is certain to become tougher.
Even though Republicans lost their foothold in the House, they still maintain control in the Senate — one which has increased from a 2 seat difference to a 7 seat difference. Which means reds maintain the ability to confirm judges.
“A significant power for shaping law in the United States,” said Dr. Eissler.
With the larger majority it is not beyond the realm of possibility that Republicans will consider more extreme conservative judges than previously because they no longer need to obtain every Republican senator to agree. They just need 50.
According to Dr. Eissler students at SF state should manage expectations. Congress is unlikely to pass any laws due to the fact that the House and Senate won’t come to any consensus. Changes will occur as the Federal Courts make decisions based on the cases that cross their desks and this will occur over a number of decades and nobody should expect any immediate change.
“Starting now and increasing over the next 30 or so years,” said Dr. Eissler “mostly quietly, but sometimes loudly, accumulate into, potentially massive, changes to policy in the United States.”