With the New Year, the 112th Congress begins. After the crippling defeat of the Democratic Party during the Midterm Elections in November 2010, Republicans have gained control of the House of Representatives, and have closed the gap in the Senate. There are presently 94 freshmen, which are composed of a whopping 85 Republicans and nine new Democrats. This accounts for one of the greatest losses in congressional seats a President’s party has received in the past half-century. In the House, 63 Democratic seats have been lost while in the Senate a moderate six seats were lost.
Representative John Boehner of Ohio became the 53rd speaker of the House taking the seat of Democrat Nancy Pelosi. Nancy Pelosi, the former speaker of the House, passed the gavel to John Boehner exclaiming, “Recognizing our roles under the Constitution, united in our love of country, we now engage in a strong symbol of American democracy: the peaceful and respectful exchange of power.”
Boehner accepted and made the statement, “[…] we will honor our Pledge to America, built through a process of listening to the people, and we will stand firm on the Constitutional principles that built our party, and built a nation.” He will lead the House of Representatives with a 242 to 193 Republican majority. This is the biggest Republican edge seen in the past half-century.
During the winter recess, Republicans planned to begin the Congressional session with a slew of reforms and new measures. First up is to create a measure to repeal the health care bill, more scornfully known as “ObamaCare.” This quick movement is a symbolic act within itself because it would preempt the President’s State of the Union address. Republicans are promoting this measure in order to confine a subversive government takeover of national health care, and to reduce spending.
Reductions in government spending have also been a staple of the new congress. This stance on overall reduction is somewhat controversial in the manner of which programs are to be cut in the impending years. Republicans have stated, within the past week, that they would be willing to come to the table on some cuts in military spending and that “no reduction opportunity is completely off the table.” With a projected budget deficit of three to four trillion dollars for 2011 we can only expect concessions to be made by both parties if economic stability is a desired outcome.
Republican Representative Darrel Issa of California leads the committee on House Oversight and Government Reform to open up investigations of Fannie Mae in regards to its involvement with the foreclosure crisis, corruption in Afghanistan including the Wikileaks scandal, and the government’s role in the financial meltdown. Issa was quoted, “ […] the American people will no longer tolerate a government that has institutionalized a culture of waste and abuse that acts carelessly with their tax dollars.” The job now facing Issa and the committee is to clear corruption and reestablish trust in government. No simple endeavour in the current climate of Washington.
The new 112th Congress brings hopes of both rebuilding ties to government and the reaffirmation of founding principles outlined in the constitution. This Congress more than any other has the duty to rein in an out of control government and replace the edicts of bureaucrats with the will of the American citizenry.
Written by Timothy D. Vallario but posted to the blog by Jim Banks