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5 Ways Washington Would Change If Republicans Win the Senate

Posted on September 25, 2014
Mitch McConnell official portrait 112th Congress.jpg

"Mitch McConnell official portrait 112th Congress" by United States Senate - Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

(This originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank)

It matters who controls the Senate.

I shouldn’t have to say that, but the perception is growing that whatever happens this election cycle, nothing will change.

But that’s true in only one scenario: if Sen. Harry Reid remains majority leader.

If Sen. Mitch McConnell takes the reins as leader, here are five ways Washington would change:

1. Congress would focus on job creation, not wealth redistribution.  The House and Senate would immediately work to put in place an economic growth plan. Unlike the current Senate, which has been focused on the minimum wage and stopping corporate inversions, a Republican-led Congress would look to reform the tax code and the regulatory state to spur our economy.

2. Joint oversight of the Obama administration. The House and Senate have largely been at odds when it comes to keeping the president’s team honest. If the GOP controlled both houses, legislators would work in tandem on issues such as oversight of the IRS, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the CIA, and the Department of Homeland Security.

3. The nomination train will stop. Harry Reid has been spending the bulk of the Senate’s calendar rushing through judicial and executive branch nominations. He even oversaw a change to Senate rules that gives his side more power to jam nominations through. With a new sheriff in town, that would stop.

4. Appropriations would make a comeback. The current majority leader practically exudes contempt for the congressional spending process. Democrats haven’t bothered to pass any appropriations bills but a CR this year. My guess is that Republicans want to return to regular order and would get their work done in both bodies.

5. Ending the Reid “pocket veto.” The Senate has become the place where House bills go to die, never to be heard from again. House Speaker John Boehner and Sen. McConnell would better coordinate their lines of attack and use precious floor time to pass legislation, which may or may not be vetoed by the president. Sen. Reid would no longer have the ability to pocket-veto trade legislation, the Keystone XL pipeline, a repeal of the tax on medical devices, and other items on the GOP’s wish list.