How Will Congress Coexist With President Trump?

The election of Donald Trump to the presidency has shocked many pundits, voters, and other countries. There is a lot of concern by some and hope by others as to whether or not he will fulfill his many campaign promises. However, many of them will be altered, approved, or even aborted because of whether or not Congress supports them or not.

Given that the House of Representatives is predominantly Republican, it is not expected that Trump’s agenda will meet much resistance in the lower chamber. While there are some Democrats, their power is going to be minimal for the time being. However, Speaker Paul Ryan does not see eye to eye with the incoming administration on issues like Medicare and the Affordable Care Act.

Things get more complicated in the Senate. The Democrats do not have enough votes to stop many bills or votes on their own, but only need a few Republican votes to stop things from happening on a case by case basis. Many of Trump’s chosen nominees for critical administration posts and cabinet positions have caused concern on Capitol Hill, so lengthy and sometimes fruitless confirmation hearings may drag on for months into the first term of the next President.

Taken together, the two chambers of Republicans are very likely to also have their own agenda, distinct from the White House. They very badly want to reduce taxes and cut spending, particularly gutting or privatizing the Affordable Care Act and Medicare. However, anything they do is going to likely have near-future blowback, given that midterm elections are due up in 2018.

As a historical rule of thumb, the President’s party suffers losses in the first midterm election of the first term. While Democrats can take nothing for granted, they do stand to gain seats in both houses, possibly even flipping the Senate back to their control.