New York, Wednesday
The Democrats have clawed their way back to a measure of power in the US federal government. The era of unified rule for Donald Trump and the Republicans is over. Calling just two years an “era” may be a stretch, of course, but in the age of Trump, even days and weeks can seem like an infinite and expanding series of news cycles.
For the duration of his presidency, Trump has benefited from a friendly Congress – generally supportive of his words and deeds, accommodating of his policy priorities and deferential when it comes to oversight.
In two months, when the new Democratic-controlled House arrives in Washington, all that will change.
The House of Representatives, which reliably churned out hard-line immigration legislation, Obamacare repeal and steep cuts to social programmes under Republican rule – even though many of the bills died in the Senate – will now start offering up progressive priorities.
First on the list, according to the likely Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, is a package of government ethics and election reform measures.
Now it’s Democrats’ turn to see their efforts languish in the Senate, but liberals finally have a platform to showcase what they would do with full control of Congress – and, perhaps, the presidency in 2020.
Meanwhile, Trump’s only hope of achieving any signature laws is by working across the aisle – which may be a heavy lift for a man who spent the past few months disparaging his political opponents in the starkest of language at rallies across the country.
Of more immediate concern for the president, however, is that Democrats now have some teeth behind their efforts to scrutinise his administration.
The House Intelligence Committee, which ran the chamber’s investigation into 2016 Russian investigation meddling, will be under the control of outspoken Trump antagonist Adam Schiff, who has pledged to look deeper into the president’s foreign financial dealings. -BBC