The 112th Congress convened Jan. 5, giving Republicans a
majority in the House while Democrats maintain control of the
Senate. After picking up 62 House seats in the midterm elections,
Republicans have more House seats now than at any time during their
12-year majority from 1995 through 2006. As a result, they should
be able to move their legislative agenda through the House.
Republicans also now control all House committees, enabling them
to exercise oversight over executive agencies. This may make it
more difficult for the Obama administration to move forward with
new regulations during the next two years.
Although Democrats still control the Senate, their majority was
narrowed. Republican influence in the Senate may be further
enhanced if Democrats up for re-election in 2012 vote with
Republicans on key issues.
With control of Congress split evenly between the two major
parties, substantial bipartisan cooperation will be needed to pass
legislation. It certainly is possible—many analysts believe
likely—that legislative gridlock will be the primary outcome
of the 2010 elections, putting off actions on some issues
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