by A. Altieri D’Angelo
No one knows whether the Democratic Party (DP) or Republican Party (RP) will gain control of the House of Representatives (the House) or the Senate. But pollsters indicate the RP has the best chance to take control of both chambers of Congress.
Many people are beginning to consider the impact of the RP assuming legislative authority. For the reasons stated below, not much will change. Oh, there will be a lot of noise and political activity to please the Trump base. But no substantive changes will occur during the Biden Administration.
The RP has done an excellent job complaining about Biden’s policies and blaming him and the DP for high inflation, crime, and illegal immigration. But that is all they have done. At no time has any RP candidate produced, for public review, an action plan to fix the problems they have highlighted.
The RP has only two solutions to any issue: lower taxes and reduce government spending. But lowering taxes will not work as it will cause inflation to worsen. Cutting government spending sounds sensible until the voters realize their Medicare, Social Security checks, and other benefits will decrease. (It is noteworthy that the RP has tried to repeal Obamacare for several years. However, they have given up the repeal effort as the program has become too popular with Americans.)
The RP will also argue that law enforcement needs more funding, but President Biden has already increased funding for such groups. As for immigration, both political parties have failed miserably in their attempts to develop and implement a comprehensive plan for dealing with the problem. So what will they do?
An RP-controlled House will hold hearings on whether to impeach President Biden and Merritt Garland (the Attorney General). The Biden impeachment could be for his alleged misconduct regarding his son’s (Hunter Biden) activities when Biden was Vice President. There is no evidence that the President did anything remotely unethical or illegal, but that will not stop the RP from holding a show trial. The House will most likely investigate Hunter Biden as well. Congress will review Merritt Garland’s actions regarding the FBI retrieval of top-secret U.S. government files that the former President took from the White House. We can also assume the January 6th Commission members and their final report will be subjected to a review. These investigations will appease angry Trump followers who believe the press and the DP unjustly targeted former President Trump. These hearings will also shield the RP from being accused of not putting forward solutions that could solve the country’s problems.
The House does, however, have the power of the purse. It could pass legislation cutting off funding for various government activities. The RP has already stated it will seek to eliminate $80 Billion in new funding for the Internal Revenue Service. However, for such reductions to become law, they would need Senate approval, and President Biden must also agree. Senate approval is very likely, but Biden will veto the bill. The House and Senate could override the veto by a two-thirds vote. Such a result is improbable, given the RP does not command a two-thirds House majority. Therefore, the RP will not pass any legislation for the remaining two years of the Biden Presidency unless the DP and the President approve such proposals. The RP-controlled House has only one real weapon: the ability to withhold funding from the U.S. government.
The RP can attempt to blackmail the Biden administration by not approving funding for government operations; this approach was used in the Clinton and Trump years. Gingerich (RP), Speaker of the House, fought President Clinton over budget cuts. Ultimately, they failed to approve a continuing resolution and caused the government to shut down twice in 1995-1996. Trump did the same thing in 2018-2019 to obtain funding for his Border Wall. Americans blamed the RP for the chaos and financial costs of the shutdowns. Hopefully, the RP has learned from its past mistakes and will avoid causing a U.S. default on its debts.
(The RP will, however, be able to continue to fill the judiciary with very conservative judges if it controls the Senate. This process will have a long-term effect on how the U.S. governs itself. Only time will tell if that is a good or bad thing.)
No one should expect an RP-controlled House and Senate to do much of anything before the 2024 Presidential election. They have nothing to offer. Sadly, we all lose as time passes, and no real solutions are developed to deal with urgent issues. Life will go on as before, but this time the people will be asking the RP why they have not done more to combat inflation, crime, and illegal immigration. The RP will respond by blaming the Democrats. Nothing changes.