Balance of Power
Whoever sits in the Oval Office shares federal power with 535 lawmakers.
What we know (so far) about what the 2020 election means for the House & Senate.
Why It Matters:
- The House & Senate create and pass federal law; both have unique roles.
- The House: with lawmakers elected every 2 yrs, the House leads oversight (investigations) and manages your money (allocating taxpayer $$).
- The Senate: with longer terms (6 years) and equal representation (2 senators for each state) the Senate is a “necessary fence,” protecting citizens from wayward trends or rulers.
House of Representatives
Democrats currently hold the majority in the House (232 Democrats, 197 Republicans, 1 Libertarian, 5 vacancies).
Current race calls show Democrats maintaining the majority; however, Republicans have outperformed many predictions so far, and may gain more seats than expected.
“Last night and this morning’s results should serve as a wake-up call that the prognosticators have no clue what they are talking about,”
Michael McAdams, spokesman for the National Republican Campaign Committee, after Election Day as predictions shift in favor of Republicans gaining seats. The majority party will still be able to pass legislation without the other. Whether or not election results will change political strategy, for either party, remains TBD.
The Senate: TBD
- Republicans currently hold the majority in the Senate: 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats & 2 Independents (who vote with Democrats).
- Current calls show Republicans maintaining Senate majority; however, two Senate races in Georgia — a state with razor-thin margins for the presidential race as well — may be too close to call. One race *will* head to a runoff; the other might do the same.
“…get ready for nine more weeks of nasty campaign rhetoric, nonstop political advertising and even more visits from political VIPs, especially if control of the U.S. Senate remains at stake.”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Georgia law requires a runoff if neither candidate gets 50% of the vote. While both parties have local resources, "outside" money (from big donors) *is* permitted in these races, heightening attention & tension if the U.S. Senate hangs in the balance.
While we can't call the presidency, remember this: Whoever is the VP serves as the tiebreaker in the Senate. Congress & the White House must work together to bring proposed legislation to law. Elected officials share the balance of power with the Judicial Branch – The Supreme Court justices have life appointments.
ORIGINS of the SENATE:
During the Constitutional Convention, James Madison described the Senate as “a necessary fence” which would protect “the people against their rulers” and from “the transient impressions into which they themselves might be led.” Over the course of more than two hundred years, the Senate has expanded and evolved into a complex legislative body while remaining consistent with Madison’s vision, fulfilling the needs of a growing and increasingly diverse nation.
ORIGINS OF THE HOUSE:
As outlined in the Constitution, the House represents citizens based on district populations, while the Senate represents citizens on an equal state basis. This agreement was part of what is called The Great Compromise which, in turn, led to the Permanent Seat of Government Act establishing the nation’s federal capital in Washington, DC. In 1789, the House assembled for the first time in New York. It moved to Philadelphia in 1790 and then to Washington, DC, in 1800.
A great read from an award winning journalist: CLICK HERE
HERE’S THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION ON THE GEORGIA RUNOFF: CLICK HERE
by Jenna Lee,