Tags: Barack Obama | Republicans | takeover | Senate | House | majority

GOP Makes Plans for Possible Takeover of Senate

By    |   Thursday, 23 October 2014 11:15 AM

Beyond measuring drapes for their new offices, Republican members of Congress are looking ahead to the possibility they may control both the House and the Senate after the midterm elections, reports The Wall Street Journal.

While congressional members are reluctant to publicly lay out their plans, lawmakers are evaluating their options if control switches from the Democrats to the Republicans, including whether to change the Senate rules regarding filibusters and sorting out committee chairmanships and assignments.

If he is re-elected, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky will likely become Senate majority leader and will drive the chamber's agenda.

"We're going to pass spending bills, and they're going to have a lot of restrictions on the activities of the bureaucracy. That's something he won't like, but that will be done. I guarantee it," he told Politico.

McConnell also is preparing for how he would handle a president more willing to use his executive authority to achieve his policy goals.

"The only tool it has that can work is the power of the purse, to restrict funding," McConnell told a recent gathering of the Young Professional Association of Louisville [Kentucky], who described his current role as minority leader as "defensive coordinator."

Story continues below video.

Some Republicans, such as Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, see an opportunity to break the gridlock and understand voters' expectations that they actually govern.

Corker, who could become the next chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, told the editorial board of The Tennessean that during a recent call with President Obama he "told him that a Republican majority [in the Senate] would be good for him, and his administration, during the next two years."

"Republicans will have to show they have the ability to govern," said Corker, adding that "there will be an obligation on both parties to actually address [economic] issues."

Corker sees an opening to move forward on trade agreements, including giving Obama the authority to conclude many of the trade negotiations that have languished in the Senate.

Aides and lawmakers are also preparing for the possibility of an evenly divided Senate. If neither party has the majority after all the votes are counted, GOP aides tell the Washington Examiner they are considering how to limit Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's ability to control the amendment process and to prevent votes on legislation passed by the House.

"In a circumstance where there are at least 50 Republican votes and variable members inside the Democratic 50, I think there will be a lot of conversation about what Reid can and can't do to continue his autocratic approach," a top GOP aide told the Examiner.

Meanwhile, legislators in the House also view a Senate controlled by Republicans as a chance to move forward with their policy goals.

Rep. Paul Ryan, who could take over the chairman's reins of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, has expressed a desire to implement dynamic scoring, which considers the impact of fiscal policy changes by forecasting the effects of those changes on the economy itself.

"Our rules in Congress require that we don't take into consideration behavioral changes or economic effects as a result of tax reform. What we want to do is change our measurement," said Ryan in a recent speech before the Financial Services Roundtable, reports Slate.

Compelling the Congressional Budget Office to use dynamic scoring could lead to a politicization of the budget process, say some Democrats.

"People would see this as cooking the books. It really would hurt the credibility of the entire process," Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland tells The Wall Street Journal.

Ryan told the Examiner he recognizes that even with Republicans in control of both legislative chambers, achieving any sort of tax reform will not be an easy task.

"Typically tax reform in history has been led by presidents; [the Reagan tax overhaul in] '86 is a perfect example," Ryan said. "That won't be the case this time if we get it in the next two years. It will have to be led by Congress, and we'll see what we can get."

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Beyond measuring drapes for their new offices, Republican members of Congress are looking ahead to the possibility they may control both the House and the Senate after the midterm elections, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Republicans, takeover, Senate, House, majority
Thursday, 23 October 2014 11:15 AM
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