Republicans Take Helm of Congress, but Initial Course Is Unclear
As Republicans take control Tuesday of both chambers of Congress for the first time in eight years, party leaders hope to move quickly to confront President Obama and showcase their conservative ideology, including austere budget cuts and dismantling government regulation.
But continuing GOP divisions, a lack of clear leadership and some recent high-profile scandals are already distracting from the party’s ambitious policy agenda.
First up, possibly this week, will be House votes to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, followed later by moves to undo Obama’s immigration policies and a budget battle with Democrats over lower tax rates and less government spending.
Without a clear Republican presidential front-runner to guide the way, it will fall to House Speaker John A. Boehner and incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to set the course and keep the party’s conservative wing in check.