Democratic win in House means trouble for Trump agenda
WASHINGTON – It may not be the “blue tsunami” Democratic activists had been seeking, but the party’s victories in House races across the country Tuesday night are enough to block President Donald Trump’s agenda for the next two years – and sweep San Francisco Democrat Nancy Pelosi back into the speaker’s office.
Fueled by anti-trump energy, Democrats won Republican seats in suburban areas across the country – from Charlotte, N.C., to Kansas City, Mo., and Denver. That gives the party a solid grasp on the House chamber, where the rules give the majority party significant power to control the agenda.
A Democratic-controlled House is unlikely to be able to see much of its legislation become law.
But it could effectively stymie the president’s efforts to fund his wall on the border with Mexico, unravel the Affordable Care Act and make cuts to entitlement programs like Medicaid and Social Security. As the chamber’s majority, Democrats would also gain subpoena power to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia and his administration’s ethics scandals.
The results also offer validation to Pelosi, the 78-year-old party leader who became the face of Republicans’ opposition campaign this fall and the subject of angst among some in her own caucus.
Republican groups spent millions of dollars on ads seeking to tie Democratic challengers to Pelosi and what the GOP called her “liberal San Francisco values.”
The Democrats’ victories are likely to dampen any push to oust Pelosi and other top leaders, a half-dozen Democratic congressional aides told Mcclatchy. House Democrats plan to vote on leadership positions after Thanksgiving. The party’s nominee will then go before the entire House for a vote in January.
The veteran congresswoman has faced relentless criticism from Democrats in some quarters, particularly from younger party lawmakers who argue she has held onto power for too long as well as from more centrist Democrats running in swing districts in 2018.
A recent Washington Post tally found that roughly one-third of nonincumbent Democrats running for House seats this year “refused to endorse Pelosi or have sidestepped questions about her.”
But as the scope of Democrats’ victory became apparent, even her detractors conceded that it would be difficult to oust her.
If Pelosi returns, her deputy, 79-year-old Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland and the third ranking House Democrat, 78-year-old assistant minority leader Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, are also expected to remain the second and third leadership slots, although some members of the Congressional Black Caucus are eager to have Clyburn or another African-american in one of the top two positions.