Hey Republicans, That’s An Awful Nice Majority You Have There. Be a Real Shame if Something Happened To It.
Without a doubt Republicans had a good night Election night. While there are a handful of races still outstanding, House Republicans are on track to have their largest majority since they had 270 seats in the in the 71st Congress (1929-1930).
The election has a number of interesting tidbits (most from the Washington Post and other sources (noted)):
- Senators-elect Tom Cotton and Joni Ernst are two of the first Iraq War veterans elected to the Senate. Former Rep. Cotton also gives Arkansas two Republican Senators for the first time since 1879.
- For the first time ever, more than 100 female legislators will be voting in the next session of Congress. With Rep. Shelley Moore Capito’s Senate victory in West Virginia, the state has its first female senator. Joni Ernst, who won the Iowa Senate race, will be the first woman elected to federal office in that state.
- Elise Stefanik, who won the House race in New York’s 21st District, is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. She is 30.
- Mia Love, who won the House race in Utah’s 4th District, is the first black woman to be elected as a Republican representative.
- Will Hurd, who won a House race in Texas, became the first black Republican to win a federal election in the state since Reconstruction.
- 29 Senators who voted for Obamacare have now been booted from the Senate by voters since 2010.
A lesson from the elections is that being pro-life beats being pro-abortion. Three high profile Republican candidates that highlighted their pro-abortion stances and also had a lot of financial support from the Republican Leadership and Establishment lost (or in one case, is losing).
Senator Scott Brown (who was a Senator from Massachusetts for a little while, and this year ran for the Senate in New Hampshire), Richard Tisei, and Carl DeMaio all were sold as “new Republicans” who embrace the culture of death. All of them lost in what was otherwise a Republican tidal wave.
So what does this mean for the 114th Congress, which could easily be seen as a heavily pro-life House of Representatives and a more pro-life Senate?
In the House, we should expect votes on numerous pro-life bills that have been voted on in the past, such as the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act and the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, as well as legislation that was not voted on, knowing it would lie in limbo in the Senate.
The Senate though is not a lock for pro-life votes. There are a number of Republicans in the U.S. Senate who are either pro-abortion or marginally on the side of the unborn. Any pro-life legislation will have to be carefully crafted and eased through the Senate chamber to even reach a majority of support of 51. Getting 60 votes to overcome any expected filibuster will be even more difficult considering there is only one Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), who could be considered pro-life. However you should expect a vote on the Pain Capable bill as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), as well as a number of newly elected Republican Senators, ran on the platform of a vote on that specific legislation.
That of course wasn’t the only issue Republicans ran on. This election was more about not being President Obama than it was about being Republican. Incoming Majority Leader McConnell, in a press conference following the election, named his primary Obamacare targets: the medical device tax, the individual mandate and the 30-hour work week.
The President’s signature issue, the health care law known as Obamacare, was also a primary talking point for winning candidates. Nearly half of voters – 47 percent – said Obamacare went too far, according to a CNN exit poll. The exit poll survey of 11,522 voters included voters from a random sample of precincts on Tuesday, as well as voters who cast their ballots early or absentee.
The “party of repeal” might now be in power in both chambers of Congress; however, they fall short of the necessary 60 votes needed to pass legislation in the Senate, let alone override a Presidential veto.
In a statement after Republicans took control of the Senate, House Speaker John Boehner did not mention health care. He said we can expect the jobs and energy bills passed by the House to be voted on in the Senate, and he talked about fixing the tax code, legal, regulatory and education systems. He mentioned nothing on Obamacare or pro-life bills.
Bottom line, if the Republicans want to keep their recently won majority they will need to be bold in the House of Representatives on pro-life issues and the Senate Republicans will need to unite on the pro-life issue, regardless of their personal view on protecting the unborn.
Days until the 2016 election: 732 days