A few days ago, I had breakfast with a friend who’s giddy that the Republicans are likely to capture the U.S. Senate.
And yes, I have to admit, the prospect of making Harry Reid Minority Leader of the U.S. Senate warms my heart, too.
But at the same time, I’m not disillusioned enough to believe that a Republican Senate will lead to big changes in governance.
In fact, I spent much of our breakfast warning my friend not to expect real change… and if you, too, have high expectations for a GOP Senate, I want to warn you, as well.
Sure, Republicans will probably carry the night. The GOP is up slightly in toss-up states like Iowa, Arkansas, Kansas, Georgia, Kentucky, South Dakota, Alaska, Colorado, and North Carolina. The GOP may even pick up a seat in New Hampshire if a wave election develops.
Whatever the final outcome, the complexion of the U.S. Senate will be totally changed. However, if you understand how Washington is actually governed, you know that the change will have a minuscule effect on policy. You see, elected officials have, through complex legislation, given the power that was once theirs to the executive branch and other unelected bureaucrats.
This shift in power suits them well. They can return home to upset constituents and say: “Sorry, I can’t do anything about that” (which protects them at election time). If they don’t have power, they can’t be held responsible.
So if you dissect the major issues facing America, you’ll find that few policies change unless a president is changed.
A Glance Into the Future
Here is what’s likely to unfold in the next two years…
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First, much of the legislation that Harry Reid kept from the Senate floor will finally pass. Unfortunately, President Obama will most likely take up the role of Harry Reid over the president’s final two years. He’ll veto the bills, and we’ll see all of the action in the administration.
On Obamacare, even with both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House voting to repeal, the nasty legislation will survive, and it’ll continue to remake the U.S. healthcare industry in unforeseen ways. Insurance premiums will continue to climb upwards. In turn, workers will continue to lose full-time jobs with benefits, which will then be replaced by management with part-time jobs at lower wages, and no benefits.
Let’s also keep in mind: Immigration reform will be dead with a GOP Senate. Likely, Harry Reid and John Boehner will get together before the change of power to craft an immigration reform bill.
If they can’t get any bill passed, then they’ll call upon Obama to act, and he’ll craft some form of executive action to give work permits to illegal aliens living here. These work permits will create a situation where reality clashes with law – and reality on the ground usually wins.
Meanwhile, foreign policy affords a president even more flexibility of action. The Obama strategic errors in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, and the Far East will continue unaffected.
Maybe a few more hearings will be convened to discuss the crises… but policy is as likely to change as the Oakland Raiders are to win the 2015 Super Bowl.
Your eyes on the Hill,