WASHINGTON: Democrats have held both houses of Congress and the presidency for the past two years, but they may not have such consolidated power much longer.
Republicans are favored to win the House in the November 8 midterm elections, bolstered by frustration with the economy and the benefits of the redistricting process that takes place every 10 years. But Democrats are trying to hold their ground, campaigning to maintain access to abortion and other issues.
The outlook is bleaker in the Senate, where Republicans are trying to regain control. Several races in key battleground states are tight, leading Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to say the odds of his party winning a majority are only 50 to 50.
An overview of Congressional scrutiny and what will happen if Republicans win a majority in either chamber in the election:
The Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have held a majority since 2018, when they took control in President Donald Trump’s first midterm election. Republicans could retake the House if they get just five seats in dozens of competitive districts, and they’re trying to win dozens.
History also gives Republicans reason for optimism. In the modern era, the party that holds the White House has lost congressional seats in virtually every midterm election of the president’s first term.
If the Republicans win the House on November 8, the GOP caucus will elect a new chair and take power on January 3, 2023. They will lead each committee and decide which bills will be introduced in the House.
GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy has already unveiled his “Pledge to America,” a broad outline of the economic, border security and other policies the GOP would propose in the early days of the next Congress.
A Republican return to power in the House would be a victory for Trump, who has battled Democratic-led efforts to hold him accountable for the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol uprising. The vast majority of Republicans who are expected to return to Washington the next year, as well as most of those hoping to win a first term, are loyal to Trump and have followed his example in their policies and positions.
Among those allies are far-right members like Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who was stripped of her committee assignments by Democrats because of her extreme rhetoric but would be part of a large governing majority under a House of the GOP. Greene supported McCarthy at the “Pledge to America” ​​presentation in Pennsylvania last month.
Democratic priorities such as access to abortion, the fight against climate change and stricter gun control would immediately be pushed aside. And most, if not all, of President Joe Biden’s agenda would effectively be dead in the last two years of his term.
Yet nothing becomes law without Biden’s signature. Bills to finance the government, raise the debt ceiling, and deal with military issues are necessary for the functioning of the government. These bills are likely to become flashpoints in negotiations between the GOP, Democrats and the White House.
Biden, who served in the Senate for decades, has often touted his bipartisan credentials and said he wants to work with Republicans. But there would be little appetite for it in a GOP convention that has made opposing Biden its top priority.
While the Senate could swing back and forth after the midterm elections, the majority party is still likely to have the thinnest margins. That means Biden will be able to find a little more common ground there, no matter who is in charge. Much of Biden’s legislative achievements in office have been the byproduct of bipartisan negotiations in the Senate.
Still, a Republican-led Senate could pass bills sent from a GOP house, putting political pressure on Biden. And the GOP would regain control of the committees and, with it, the power to investigate and control the administration.
A Republican Senate could also make life difficult for Biden by blocking or delaying the passage of the president’s nominees to the judicial and executive branches.
If the Democrats occupied the Senate and the Republicans won the House, it is unlikely that the two chambers would find common ground. But Republicans could try to win over Democratic Senate moderates on some legislation.
If Democrats were able to keep the House and Senate, they would likely restart negotiations on some of Biden’s agenda items that never passed, including his new package of social and economic programs that stalled amid internal Democratic disagreements.
The majority of House districts are non-competitive, thanks to a redistricting process that allows state legislatures to draw their own lines in Congress if they so choose. Many legislatures draw lines to give advantages to one party or the other.
Still, dozens of seats are at stake, including many of those held by Democrats who won in suburban neighborhoods in 2018, winning a majority for the party that year.

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