Republicans were celebrating on Tuesday evening after wresting control of the Senate during the 2014 midterm elections that will likely have far reaching implications for President Obama’s agenda during the final 2 years of his presidency as Republicans move to the center of the political spotlight and seek to lead on important policy issues ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Republicans picked up 7 extra Senate seats on Tuesday, one more than was needed, and captured the majority to move ahead of Democrats in the Senate by a margin of 52-45.
Republican Senate races were victorious in Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, Arkansas, West Virginia, Iowa, and South Dakota.
Republicans also added more seats in the House of Representatives where they already held the majority by a significant margin.
Although the mid term elections on Tuesday were not a referendum vote on President Obama’s policies, Republicans drove home the message to their constituents that change is needed in Washington as President Obama’s approval rating plummeted to 41 percent in October and Congress’ approval ratings sank even lower.
According to an ABC/Washington Post poll released on October 26th, Congress overall had a 20 percent job approval rating, one of the worst heading into a midterm election since 1974.
Republicans have defined and shaped their political platform over the past several years by obstructing the president’s agenda at every move and feeding off public discontent on divisive public policy issues such as the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act and the recent government handling of the Ebola crisis.
Beginning in January 2015 President Obama will face greater legislative challenges as Republicans on Capitol Hill explore ways to rollback some of the reform measures that he was successful in achieving during his first term in office when Democrats had greater leverage to support his reforms with health care and the environment.
More Republican sponsored bills will arrive on President Obama’s desk for approval after January 1st, 2015 since both houses are now unified under Republican leadership and Democrats can no longer be counted on in the Senate to block debate from a Democrat majority leader.
Republicans on Capitol Hill are likely to seek approval for the Keystone XL pipeline which brings oil flowing from Canada to the United States and develop a different policy with immigration as President Obama has made it clear that he will soon impose executive orders on the issue.
New Senate Majority Leader
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) was victorious on Tuesday in his Senate election race and will lead the Senate from the floor as the new majority leader.
During McConnell’s acceptance speech on Tuesday for the 2014 Kentucky U.S. Senate election, he spoke about the need for Washington to work together in an effort to bridge some of the key differences that have separated the two political parties.
“We do have an obligation to work together on issues where we can agree. I think we have a duty to do that, ” McConnell said.
“Just because we have a 2 party system doesn’t mean we have to be in perpetutal conflict. I think I have shown that to be true at critical times in the past. I hope the president gives me a chance to show it again.” McConnell added.