Fear and Trembling in the GOP: Here Are 5 Things Republicans Worry About Most with Democrats Likely to Take Control of the House
With the 2018 midterms only a week away, many political analysts are still predicting that the most likely outcome for Congress will be Republicans losing their majority in the House of Representatives but maintaining a slight majority in the U.S. Senate. Pollster Nate Silver is one of them: according to analysis on his FiveThirtyEight.com website, Democrats have an 85% chance (as of October 30) of retaking the House but only a 17% chance of retaking the Senate. Democrats, ideally, would love to obtain a majority in both branches of Congress, but even if Democrats only retake the House, they could do a lot to make life difficult for President Donald Trump. A Democratic House majority, regardless of what happens in the Senate a week from today, would result in political gridlock in Washington, DC in 2019—and Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are painfully aware of that.
Here are five of the biggest fears, worries and anxieties that Republicans have about the possibility of a Democratic House majority—even if the GOP maintains control of the Senate.
1. Investigative House Committees Galore
Special Counsel Robert Mueller is a conservative Republican who, in 2001, was appointed director of the FBI by President George W. Bush, but these days, he is very popular among Democrats. And his Russia-related investigation continues to move along, much to Trump’s chagrin and much to the delight of most Democrats. A Democratic House majority would no doubt be paying very close attention to Mueller’s probe, and they would be able to form all kinds of investigative committees that could be a major headache for the president. Trump is no doubt dreading all the subpoenas and hearings that a Democrat-controlled House could bring.
A Democratic House majority, depending on what Mueller’s probe reveals, could also vote to impeach Trump—although it would be merely symbolic without a Senate majority, as removing Trump from office via the impeachment process would also require conviction in a Senate trial. And the chances of a GOP-controlled Senate led by Mitch McConnell voting to convict Trump are slim and none.
2. A Democratic House Could Pursue Trump’s Tax Returns
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has noted that if Democrats retook the House, pursuing Trump’s tax returns is “one of the first things we’d do.” So far, Trump has—unlike other presidents—refused to make his tax returns public. But a Democratic House could turn up the heat, repeatedly asking what Trump has to hide. There has been talk of House Democrats proposing legislation that would force all future presidential nominees to share their tax returns with the public, although such a House bill would be merely symbolic with Republicans still in control of the Senate. If House Democrats did pass such a bill in 2019, the likely response from McConnell and other Republicans in a predominantly GOP Senate would be a firm “hell no.”
3. No Additional Tax Cuts for Giant Mega-Corporations and the 1%
Votes for or against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 came down along party lines in Congress: Democrats opposed it, Republicans supported it. Even West Virginia’s Sen. Joe Manchin, who was the lone Senate Democrat to vote for Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court and has said he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of endorsing Trump in the 2020 presidential race, voted against it. But that isn’t to say that Democrats are necessarily going to vote against tax cuts in the future—it all depends on the bill in question. And in a Democratic House/Republican Senate scenario, Democrats are unlikely to agree to any type of bill that’s comparable to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act—which was great for the 1% but offers precious little tax relief to the U.S.’ middle class.
Trump and McConnell would love to give the 1% and giant corporations additional tax cuts, but that is unlikely to happen with a Democrat-controlled House. And in a gridlock scenario, McConnell and Trump would probably oppose any tax bill proposed by House Democrats.
4. No ACA Repeal Bills Would Be Passed by a Democratic House
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear that in 2019, he is hoping to take another crack at repealing the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a.k.a. Obamacare. But that will only happen if Republicans maintain control of the House. In order for any anti-Obamacare bills to make it to President Trump’s desk in 2019, Republicans will need both a House majority and a Senate majority. That isn’t to say Republicans won’t be able to kill the ACA via the Supreme Court if their lawsuit Texas v. Azar gets that far, but they won’t be able to kill it via Congress next year if Democrats regain control of the House.
5. Mitch McConnell Could Probably Forget About the House Supporting Draconian Medicare, Social Security Cuts
McConnell has not only said that he would like to see Republicans take another shot at repealing and replacing the ACA in 2019—he would also like to address “entitlements,” which he described as “the real drivers of the debt.” In other words, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid could, not surprisingly, end up on the GOP chopping block next year. And even though Trump has insisted that he has no desire to butcher those programs, only a fool would believe him.
But with a Democratic House, the type of draconian Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid cuts that McConnell is envisioning would be unlikely to make it to Trump’s desk to sign.