Obama and McConnell set priorities for 2015 Congress

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, flanked by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., left, and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, right, arrive for a news conference in Washington D.C. in September 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Big changes are underway in U.S. politics as the balance of power shifts away from the president’s party. For the first time in eight years, the Republican Party has a majority in the Senate, picking up seven more seats to a total of 52 seats in the 100-member Senate. They also bolstered their majority in the House of Representatives. CCTV America’s Jessica Stone reported this story from Washington, D.C.

Both President Barack Obama and likely Republican Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell struck conciliatory tones on Wednesday. Whether Republicans and Democrats can overcome party divisions will likely come down to the relationship between Obama and McConnell.

The president said he will not moderate his agenda in any way, but is promising to reach out to Republicans directly and find ways to cooperate.

McConnell, the current Senate Minority Leader is likely to become the top Republican in Congress, and has been a key obstructionist of Obama’s agenda.

“I think we ought to start with the view that maybe there are some things we can agree on to make progress in the country,” McConnell said.

But almost immediately, the two butted heads Wednesday.

Obama promised to use executive action on immigration reform if the Congress doesn’t pass a comprehensive bill.

“Before end of year, we’re going to take whatever lawful actions I can take and at the same time I’ll be reaching out to leaders and find out how they want to proceed,” he said.

McConnell said such an action was uncooperative.

“It’s like waving a red flag in front of a bull to say ‘if you guys don’t do what I want, I’m going to do it on my own’,” McConnell said.

McConnell now has the votes to greenlight the Keystone oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast which has so far been stalled by the White House. A Republican Congress is also more likely to push Obama to put combat boots on the ground in Iraq in the fight against ISIL. But it is also more likely to continue the current funding for the moderate Syrian opposition in 2015, something Obama wants.

As Obama prepares for a trip to Asia, for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, he could be in a stronger position.

Republican leaders favor giving him the fast track trade authority he needs to complete the Trans Pacific Partnership Trade agreement with Asian partners.

McConnell has said that international trade agreements are good for America.

McConnell has pledged that he would not support any government shutdowns and would not allow a default on the national debt, indicating he has no appetite for a repeat of the 2013 government shutdown.

Obama’s priority now is passing a budget, funding the fight against Ebola, and getting a new congressional authorization for the battle against ISIL. Congress has to pass a new budget by the end of the year.

Obama and McConnell set priorities for 2015 Congress

Big changes are underway in U.S. politics as the balance of power shifts away from the president’s party. For the first time in eight years, the Republican Party has a majority in the Senate, picking up seven more seats to a total of 52 seats in the 100-member Senate. They also bolstered their majority in the House of Representatives. CCTV America’s Jessica Stone reported this story from Washington, D.C.


Republicans and Democrats respond to GOP control of Congress

With the 2014 midterm elections behind them, lawmakers will now return to the work of running the country, but they’ll do it with a very different Congress. For the next two years, the Republican Party will control both houses. Leaders from both parties spoke today about their futures. Frances Kuo reported this story from Washington, D.C.

Republicans and Democrats respond to GOP control of Congress

With the 2014 midterm elections behind them, lawmakers will now return to the work of running the country, but they’ll do it with a very different Congress. For the next two years, the Republican Party will control both houses. Leaders from both parties spoke today about their futures. Frances Kuo reported this story from Washington, D.C.

“To everyone that voted, I want you to know I heard you. To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you too,” President Obama said.

The Empire State Building in New York turned red as results of the midterms trickled in.

President Obama will meet with bipartisan congressional leaders Friday to map out the legislative terrain for the next two years. Meanwhile, Chairman of the Republican National Convention Reince Priebus, said the GOP victory is a clear indication of what Americans want.

Democrats said they will continue to push for their policies.

“Number one, this was a wave election. In 2006, when it was a wave against the Republicans, they lost 30 seats. In 2010, a wave against us, we lost 63 seats. This wave election contained the losses to about 15 seats,” said Rep. Steve Israel, democrat from New York.

The shift in power could make Obama’s last two years in office a challenge. But he and other Democratic leaders said they are eager to get back to work.

“Congress will pass some bill I cannot sign, I’m pretty sure I’ll take some actions some in Congress will not like, that’s natural, that’s how democracy works. But we can surely find ways to work together on issues where there is broad agreement among the american people.”


John Fortier of the Democracy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center discusses midterm elections

CCTV America was joined by John C. Fortier, Director of the Democracy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center to talk about the outcome of these elections.

John Fortier of Bipartisan Policy Center discusses midterms

CCTV America was joined by John C. Fortier to talk about the results of the midterm elections.


Katie Glueck of Politico discusses the GOP majority in Congress

CCTV America interviewed POLITICO reporter Katie Glueck about the results of the midterm elections.

Katie Glueck of Politico discusses the GOP majority in Congress

CCTV America interviewed POLITICO reporter Katie Glueck about the results of the midterm elections.


Republicans take control of the Senate in voter rebuke to Obama

Republicans stormed to power in the U.S. Senate, extended their majority in the House of Representatives, and put a series of Democratic-leaning states under control of Republican governors in a midterm election that was a clear repudiation of President Barack Obama.

The election gives Republicans momentum heading into the 2016 presidential race, which will now become the focus of American politics for the next two years. At issue is whether Obama, his congressional Democrats, and the newly robust Republican majorities will be able to break the legislative gridlock that has gripped the U.S. capital in recent years.
The president scheduled a news conference for later Wednesday to offer his take on an Election Day thumping of his Democratic Party. It’s a low point for a president who electrified the world with his election in 2008 as the first African-American president and was comfortably re-elected in 2012. Though Democrats lost the House in 2010, partly in a backlash to his health care overhaul, this will be the first time Obama must also deal with a Republican-led Senate.

The election results will likely alter the American political dynamic on immigration reform, budget matters, presidential nominations, trade and much more. With lawmakers planning to return to Washington next week, Obama invited congressional leaders to a meeting Friday.

Obama could use the president’s veto power if Republicans pass bills he opposes, such as a repeal of the health care law Obamacare. Overriding a presidential veto requires a two-thirds vote in each chamber of Congress — an unlikely scenario.

Heading into the vote, polls showed Republicans picking up the six Senate seats they needed for a majority. They snatched away at least seven, giving them at least 52 seats in the 100-member Senate.

Republican gains could continue. In Alaska, Democratic Sen. Mark Begich was trailing Republican Dan Sullivan, and Louisiana is headed for a Dec. 6 runoff after no candidate won a majority. In a further sign of Democratic woes, the Republican candidate still has not conceded defeat in Virginia, where Democrat incumbent Mark Warner garnered just a one-point advantage. His Republican challenger still might call for a recount.

Republicans had made Obama’s presidency the core issue of their campaigns, even though he wasn’t on the ballot. They tapped into a well of discouragement at a time many Americans are upset with a sluggish economic recovery and are besieged by troubling news, such as the spread of Ebola and the rapid rise of Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

Nearly two-thirds of voters interviewed after casting ballots said the U.S. was seriously on the wrong track. Only about 30 percent said the U.S. was headed in the right direction.

The economy remained the top issue for 45 percent of voters, who ranked it ahead of health care, immigration, or foreign policy. And economic worries played to Republicans’ advantage, according to the surveys of voters as they left polling places.

In the House, only a few dozen races were truly competitive. But in a sign of the depth of voter displeasure, Democrats could not even beat Republican Michael Grimm, a New York congressman indicted on tax fraud and other charges. He gained national fame by threatening to throw a reporter off a balcony in Congress.

Story compiled with information from the Associated Press.