Since Republicans picked up enough seats to give them the majority in the Senate, expect conservative elves to present children (the non-immigrant kind) with Trickle-Down Barbies who drive Mattel® Hummer H2s that get 8 miles per gallon (highway, anyway). What changes can we anticipate on hot-button issues once red rules the roost?
- Foreign Policy: A new Republican majority in the Senate and House will have immense influence over defense spending, which means Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will press for congressional authorization for Obama’s expanded military operations against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Meanwhile libertarian-minded conservatives will champion a purely isolationist stance that will set the bar very high for further U.S. military action and expenditures overseas. Will our foreign policy become paralyzed by GOP infighting?
- Obamacare: Now that Republicans have the party control of both congressional chambers for the first time since 2006, they will attempt to annul provisions of Obamacare. A Republican controlled Congress might kick off 2015 with separate bills to repeal the entire law, but voting to revoke Obamacare outright is a choice many Republicans who are up for reelection in states carried by Obama will not want to make.
- Immigration Reform: Republicans understand in order to avoid big losses in 2016, they must find a way to make inroads in the Democrats’ large lead among Latino voters. Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney opined on “Fox News Sunday” that Republicans have a workable solution: secure the border, “deal with those who come here illegally,” and make sure our immigration policies are more transparent. If you believe in champagne wishes and caviar dreams, buckle up for a bumpy Republican magic carpet ride.
- Presidential Appointments: With Republicans increasing their majority in the U.S. House and winning back control of the Senate, they have the power to stall President Obama’s Attorney General, Surgeon General, and U.S. Supreme Court picks. Dr. Vivek Murthy, who cofounded a political group that advocated for the Affordable Care Act, is still waiting to be confirmed by the Senate as the next Surgeon General.
- Committee Control in Congress: One of the many benefits of being the majority party is Republicans can control Senior Committee assignments. Speaking of, Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) will now likely head the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Senator Inhofe famously called global warming a “hoax” in his book on the subject, citing the Bible for scientific support. In handing Republicans control of the Senate, voters made this non-global warming aficionado, who believes the EPA is the devil, the most powerful senator on the environment.
“The one thing that I’m confident about is that I’m going to be pretty busy over the next few years,” the President said on Wednesday after the ballots had been counted. Busy doing what — as Republicans stand in the way — remains to be seen.