Impact of the 2018 Midterm Elections
by Andrew Buczek, Mary Beth McGowan, James Brandell
Published: November, 2018
Submission: November, 2018
What Does it All Mean? With the new Democratic House majority and Republicans maintaining control of the Senate, Washington, D.C., now enters a period of divided government in the run up to the 2020 presidential election. Democrats and Republicans, including President Trump, will have to compromise on a budget and impending debt limit and sequestration, as well as spending levels for the coming fiscal years in order to avoid a government shutdown. In addition, there appears to be a willingness to work together on some big ticket items, like infrastructure investment and drug pricing. The two parties may even be able to advance smaller policy initiatives impacting areas such as energy, financial services, cybersecurity, and trade.
Expectations, however, are for a politically-charged and highly partisan environment where both parties will be turning out messaging in preparation for 2020, not only in the form of legislation, but, also through committee hearings and investigations in the House. The Democratic House’s new authority to direct oversight and investigation of the Trump administration could impact the pace of legislative activity if House committees prioritize oversight in favor of turning out legislation. Increased scrutiny of the executive branch may also slow the regulatory process as departments and agencies are bogged down responding to subpoenas and document requests.
While the House can be expected to tackle Democratic priorities on issues such as immigration and health care, the Senate will likely continue its focus on confirming judges and executive branch nominees with increasing the ranks of political appointees in the Trump administration becoming increasingly important in light of anticipated House investigations. The enhanced Republican majority in the Senate will make it much easier for President Trump to get his nominees confirmed. With more than 400 nominees currently pending and several senior Administration officials likely to step down in the coming months, this could prove to be one of the most significant impacts of the midterms.
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