Midterm results: what does it mean now that the Democrats have the House?



House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Representative Ben Ray Lujan (D-MN), DCCC Chairman, celebrate a projected Democratic Party takeover of the House of Representatives during a midterm election night party hosted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on November 7, 2018 in Washington, DC. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Jake Bednarski, Contributing Writer

It has now been almost two weeks since the midterm results were broadcasted, and there is a lot of Congressional action about to happen. The Democrats now have control of the House of Representatives while the Senate is still primarily red. Many people know this, but they don’t always know how this will impact the legislature of the United States. Democrats now have 23 more seats than Republicans in the House of Representatives, so what might this lead to? 

The new Democrats recently admitted into the House are incredibly diverse, complete with retired female veterans, immigrants, and many other minorities. People are calling this the most diverse group in the history of the House of Representatives. Many of this newly-elected House have worked in Washington and have experience with law, like Donna Shalala, who was elected in Florida, and Antonio Delgado of New York, who has a Harvard Law degree. The diversity of the people in Congress may impact the topics and bills introduced and voted on within the House.

These Democratic representatives would be pressing for many bills and resolutions, but they would also be in charge of the House Intelligence Committee, which is currently investigating President Donald Trump and Russia. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA 28th District), the current leading Democrat, will take over the committee in January. He wrote a twenty-one page document in March 2018 on the eight areas he wants to further investigate, including about 30 officials to examine, many of whom are high-ranking. The House Judiciary Committee, considered the lawyer of the House, will be the committee of Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY 10th District) in January. He has constantly pressed the current chair of the committee, Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-VA 6th District), for more probes involving the Russian investigation. Once he is the chairman, he will most likely call for more action involving the investigation. Both committees under Democrat majority may have a chance to finally complete the investigation.

Although the House of Representatives calendar does not include the following weeks, many politically important and partisan topics will most likely pass through the House in the next few months. Republicans know that these last few weeks are all they have left as the majority in the House, so they will try to pass as many Republican ideals as possible before January 3rd. Topics such as immigration, public education, healthcare, budgets, and national security are all primary issues on President Donald Trump’s agenda which he will try to resolve before the new year. It is possible to see bills removing the Visa lottery, a change in the curriculum of public schools to compete with other schools around the world, and an increase in border control and military spending.

One of the more national debates is a resolution on a recent United Nations report on climate change that was co-sponsored by 85 Democrats but not a single Republican. With their lead in the House, Democrats may look to passing this resolution, as climate change “poses a real and urgent threat to our economy, our national security, and our children’s health and futures, and that Americans deserve the jobs and security that come from becoming the clean energy superpower of the 21st century,” according to the Democrat Party Platform. Many other topics will pass through the House, and now that Democrats control that chamber, the votes will likely lean to the left.

However, all bills the House passes also must be approved by the President and the Senate, two primarily Republican bodies. Any piece of legislature that the Democrats find satisfactory may not always be as acceptable to Republicans. Just take the issue of taxes or immigration or any political topic that has been swirling around Congress recently and there’s a decent chance the parties won’t agree completely. Therefore, not every change or addition to the law will pass through the Senate or the President, and may not make as much as a difference. This stalemate will potentially cause less “Republican” and “Democratic” bills being passed and will lead to a necessity of bipartisan work to advance the legislature of this country.

But, contrary to many people’s beliefs, the focus of Democrats and Republicans isn’t always in Congress. The two parties also must worry about their supporters outside of the Chambers. The long term for both parties is just as important as passing a bill. Many analysts and former Congressman Steve Israel agree that the “new Democratic leadership and the entire Democratic caucus will really have to pull together to ensure a unified legislative agenda that appeals to constituents in Brooklyn, New York, while appealing to constituents in Brooklyn, Iowa.”

Although this lead in the lower chamber may cause Democrats to be aggressive with their legislature, they will need to still appeal to all, especially to the districts in which an upset occured in the recent elections and to the opposite parties in the upper chamber and in the oval office, if they want to keep the leading margin in the house. The 2020 elections are only in two years, and the two parties need to be mindful of their impact on the Hill and in the districts as that date approaches.