Demo­cratic win in House means trou­ble for Trump agenda

Marysville Appeal-Democrat - - LOCAL / NATION - Mcclatchy Wash­ing­ton Bu­reau (TNS)

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.

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