Earlier this week, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was sworn in as the Senate’s new majority leader, replacing Harry Reid (D-NV), who took his new post as the Senate Minority Leader. Republicans now control both bodies of Congress, and will challenge many of the actions from the executive branch. What should we expect from the 114th Congress?
Everybody has seen the old Schoolhouse Rock “I’m Just a Bill” video, but we all know the legislative process is even more complicated, and could get more so. When in the minority last year, and unable to offer amendments or modify legislation, Senate Republicans decried the lack of adherence to the traditional legislative process, or “regular order.” Incoming Leader McConnell has pledged to return to an open process, by which committees author legislation under the direction of committee chairs and then the full Senate is able to amend at well. Still, it remains unclear how long McConnell will be able to maintain this process – it allows Senate Democrats to demand votes that put Republicans in difficult political positions.