With their victory in the midterm elections, Republicans now “own” Congress, and the GOP will receive the “credit or the blame” for what Congress accomplishes over the next two years, says Andy Friedman of The Washington Update.
In his recent commentary, “A Republican Congress Awaits – But First the Lame Duck Session,” Friedman notes that while Republicans are no longer the “opposition party,” it takes “two to compromise,” and President Barack Obama should be more willing to make concessions with the new Republican leadership “if he acknowledges this [midterm] election as a repudiation of his policies.”
If, however, Obama “continues to view Republicans in Congress as an impediment to his legacy, then he will veto unwanted legislation and continue to use his executive power as broadly as possible to implement his social agenda, likely angering the new Congressional leadership and thwarting opportunities for bipartisan progress,” Friedman writes. “Split government is alive and well.”
Indeed, Friedman sees Republicans in the House being “more conservative and ideological, with less of a desire to compromise,” but Republicans in the Senate are “likely to be more moderate and willing to compromise.”
Says Friedman: “Where the Senate leadership might seek incremental progress through limited bipartisan legislative efforts, the House leadership might prefer to stake out positions for 2016 by sending Obama legislation he is likely to veto. The party leadership will have to figure out a mix of strategies that satisfies the members of both chambers.”
But before the next Republican-led Congress takes hold, lawmakers’ lame-duck session in December, with Democrats in the majority in the Senate, will have a number of issues to address, including Obama seeking to confirm a new attorney general.
Labor Secretary Thomas Perez is among the two candidates being considered to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder.