The Congress that will come into being after the November 2006 Midterms will be dominated by the Democrats who will hold a healthy majority in the House of Representatives and a slender majority in the Senate if the two Independents stay on the side of the Democrats. President Bush described the impact of the midterms on the Republicans as a “thumping” but that the results will be a “great opportunity” for America to see both President and Congress working together for the betterment of America.
Political pundits are already assessing the feasibility of this happening. For a number of years, the Democrats have been frozen out of power with a Republican executive and a Republican legislative. Now they will have the opportunity to control the legislative arm of government for at least two years.
Senior Democrat figures have publicly stated that the opportunity to work together should be grasped.
“The Democrats should adopt a good government strategy rather than a take-no-prisoner strategy.” Birch Bayh, Democrat.
It is entirely possible that the Republicans who are in Congress will also want to see the whole system work effectively and the next two years might see a partnership as opposed to decisions based simply on partisanship.
President Bush has already stated that he supports the Democrat's proposal to increase the minimum wage. The key test over the next two years is likely to be immigration reform. The president wants a tougher attitude towards border control combined with legalising 12 million illegal immigrants so that as American citizens they can legally work and make an input into the American economy. This combined approach is supported by more Democrats than it is Republicans and as such would almost certainly pass in both houses of Congress.
However, if they are presidential proposals that are passed by Congress, will the president steal the thunder from Congress? If a Republican president gets credit for such measures, will that act as a boost for the Republicans as the 2008 Presidential election approaches to the detriment of the Democrats?
The President and Congress
The president's relationship with Congress is vital to American politics. Federalism and the Constitution cry out for both the president and Congress to work constructively…