Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Sizing Up the New Congress: ABA Chairman's Position. (Briefing)

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Sizing Up the New Congress: ABA Chairman's Position. (Briefing)

Article excerpt

ON THE MORNING AFTER THE NOV. 5 elections, NBC'S Washington bureau chief and Meet the Press host, Tim Russert, put the elections in perspective. "It's historic," he said. "Not since 100 years ago has a Republican in a midterm election captured seats in both houses."

Republicans were last truly in control of the House, Senate and White House (not counting the first six months of 2001) early in the Eisenhower administration. As The Washington Times observed, George W. Bush was eight years old.

The President certainly deserves a lot of the credit for the Republican win. No party of the President has gained seats in both houses of Congress in a mid-term election since 1934. For Republicans, as Russert observed, it's been an even longer wait.

Another measure of the President's popularity: Shortly after the election, 49% of people in a CNN/Time poll said there wasn't any Democrat who could beat him in the next presidential election. One third (36%) said there was, and 15% weren't sure.

For those who count such things, Republican governors also hold a 26-24 edge over Democrats in the nation's state houses. And a few Washington pundits have observed that even the Supreme Court falls into the "Republican" column by virtue of the fact that Republican presidents appointed seven of the nine justices.

So the recent climate change in Washington can arguably be seen as a victory for George Bush. His party's leadership edge will almost certainly lead to a better airing of both his domestic and international agendas. Such items as tort reform and making the 2001 tax cuts permanent are likely to be high on that agenda. We can also expect that the economy in general will be a central focus of the next two years.

What about the changes in Congress? There we see some new leaders and returning leaders on both sides of the aisle. …

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