US polls: Republicans seize control of Senate

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Nov 06, 2014 01:48 IST

Republicans took the senate and retained control of the House Tuesday night riding widespread discontent with President Barack Obama’s policies and the state of the nation.

They picked up more than the six senate seats they needed, with some races still in play. They even held on to seats they were widely expected to lose, such an Kansas.

Counting was still on in some areas, with one race going into run-offs — Louisiana senate race will now be settled by a re-election in the first week of December.

Of the five Indian Americans running, only one had met with success till the filing of this report — South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, who easily won a second term.

Neel Kashkari, the Republican who was running for California governorship, lost. Three other Indian Americans still there were Ami Bera, Ro Khanna and Manan Trivedi.

But the big battle for the 2104 midterm elections was for the senate, which Republican were projected to win, and which Democrats were determined to prevent.

Republican prevailed, and handily in the end, raising questions about how Washington DC will work now — a Democratic White House and Republican congress.

Unlike in India, where the central cabinet comes from the party in majority in Lok Sabha, in the US the administration and the House of Representatives can be controlled by separate parties.

And like Rajya Sabha, the senate is not as powerful as the House, but it must confirm all presidential nominations — and that gives it tremendous leverage over the administration.

Democrats control the White House and the senate now, while Republicans have the House. Starting next January, Republicans will have control of both chambers of congress.

Things are expected to get tough for Obama. He is bound get a lot of push back on nominations that need senate’s confirmation — both of judges and nominees to his administration.

More investigations and hearings, of the kind already underway such as the Benghazi attack. And more legislations landing on the president’s desk, for him to veto or approve.

But it’s not going to be all bad. Some presidents are known to being more attention to foreign policy after a bad midterm, which has been the lot of most presidents.

John Fortier of the Bipartisan Policy Center said he believes the president and congress could work together on some issues — trade, tax reform and foreign policy.

From New Delhi’s point of view, a Republican congress changes nothing. “There is bipartisan support for India in the US,” said a source, adding, “We have worked with both parties.”

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