Playing the role of the minority party has taken some pressure off of Republicans before the midterm elections. With Republicans playing the long game there may be an upside.
Some political analysts think Republicans may not need to do much to recapture the majority in the Senate and House. Democrats now hold a five-seat advantage in the House with a 50-50 split in the Senate.
“Midterms are a nightmare for a president. The midterm is generally poisonous for the party in power,” explained Stephen Farnsworth of the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
While Democrats currently control the Senate, Congress, and White House, the party nearly lost the House in the 2020 elections, which shocked the voting public.
Congress frequently sees Democrats skate by with less than a handful of votes. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is in charge in the House.
Pelosi is well known for passing major legislative initiatives with just a vote or two to spare. However, the Senate is different.
The Senate has an equal Republican minority, with Senators Susan Collins, R-Maine, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Bill Cassidy, R-La., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and a few other Republicans siding with Democrats on particular issues.
So while Democrats had a big agenda, it didn’t comport with most of the values of the right and generally has stalled.
The legislators’ first problem was the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion Covid bill. Congress approved a major Covid bill with bipartisan support in December 2020, following negotiations.
However, Democrats rallied to approve their own Covid measure in March of 2021 without support from the GOP. Republicans argued against the measure, claiming the bill was responsible for bulging federal spending and inflation.
Build Back Better bill
In reaction, Democrats rolled the remainder of their agenda into the Build Back Better bill, arguing to make sure “billionaires pay their fair share” and for specific tax increases.
Democrats also pushed for family leave, numerous environmental provisions, and expansion of medical care to cover vision, hearing, and dental. The mammoth legislation was a costly package of everything the Democrats want to accomplish.
Representative Pelosi muscled the bill through the House, minus the vote of Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine. However, it hit a brick wall in the Senate with a lack of support from Democrat West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.
According to Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., “The American people are not for all of this. They thought they were electing a moderate. The president signed up for a (Sen.) Bernie Sanders, I-VT., agenda to turn America into a socialist country.”