US Elections: Republican Steamroller Forces Its Agenda on Congress ; Gleeful New US Legislature Prepares to Implement President Bush's Right-Wing Mandate as Old Order Is Overturned Deep Tax Cuts to Security, to Deregulation and a Host of Judicial Nominations, Yy XXXX Yyyy XXXX Yyyy XXXX Yyyy XXXX Yyyy XXXX Yyyy XXXX Yyyy XXXX Yyyy XXXX Yyyy XXXX Yyyy XXXX Yyyy XXXX Yyyy XXXX Yyyy
Cornwell, Rupert, The Independent (London, England)
TRIUMPHANT REPUBLICANS are readying a legislative steamroller on Capitol Hill to push through conservative measures favoured by the Bush administration but until this week blocked by the Democrats' control of the Senate.
The order of the hour in the party's high command is "no gloating", in order to preserve what chances exist of bipartisan co- operation with the Democrats.
Privately though, senior Republicans are not hiding their glee at the election outcome, nor their determination to make up for lost time.
From tax cuts to homeland security, to deregulation and a host of blocked conservative judicial nominations, the new Republican leadership in the Senate intends to move as quickly as possible - in some cases as soon as the "lameduck" session, which starts on 12 November and runs until the 108th Congress is installed in January.
The Republican majority of at least 51 seats does not guarantee Senate passage, given the need for 60 votes to close a debate. But it means that the new majority leader, Trent Lott of Mississippi, has the power to decide what legislation comes to the floor, and to prevent discussion of issues that Republicans want to avoid.
No less important is the change of guard at the Senate's committees - arguably the most powerful institutions on Capitol Hill - where Republican majorities take over, and where Republican chairmen will replace Democratic ones.
One change that will create few anxieties either at home or abroad is the promotion of Richard Lugar of Indiana to head the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Mr Lugar is arguably the most respected internationalist in Senate ranks, best known for the Nunn- Lugar programme to dismantle the former Soviet Union's nuclear weapons.
Other changes, however, will dismay liberals - none more so than the prospect of James Inhofe of Oklahoma heading the Environment and Public Works Committee. An arch-conservative, Mr Inhofe has strenuously resisted stricter air-quality standards (which he claims are based on a dishonest rationale) and backs any measure that helps the oil industry.
At the Energy Committee, the new chairman, Pete Domenici of New Mexico, is only marginally more reassuring. Though a moderate on some social issues, he is a tireless defender of the oil industry and a strong advocate of nuclear power. …