2002 Midterm Elections Impact America

Article excerpt

The November 2002 midterm election marked the first time in U.S. history that the president's party gained seats in the House of Representatives during the administration's first midterm elections. The Republican Party also picked up seats in the Senate, giving the party control of both houses of Congress. The GOP coup was completed as a majority of the nation's gubernatorial seats remained in its control.

During the 108th Congress, the Republican agenda will be readily visible. The power of a majority in both houses of Congress should not be underestimated. The party will be able to determine what bills come to the floor, and even more important, determine the rules of debate. This will ensure that the Republican leadership maintains control of the legislative agenda.

The agenda will again be dominated by homeland security. Even following the establishment of a cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security, the fight against terrorism will continue to be the centerpiece of the Republican agenda in the 108th Congress as issues relating to the reach of the new department are decided. The party will also try to strengthen its domestic record by pushing for the enactment of a limited prescription drug benefit for Medicare seniors that would be offered through private insurers. And although the conservative core of the GOP would love to make permanent last year's $1.35 trillion, 10-year tax cut package, it will likely strive to make permanent only one or two elements of the tax cut--led by the repeal of the estate tax.

The Democratic Party will truly be an opponent for the next two years as the GOP will have only itself to blame for policy or political shortcomings; the GOP will also be allowed to take credit for all successes. …