With Election Day less than two weeks away it seems each day brings new polls and new predictions about which party will control the Senate. Ultimately control of the upper chamber hinges on a few races that are still too close to call. So perhaps a more productive question than who will prevail after Election Day, is what will they do? From that perspective, there is a lot at stake for progressives. A new CAP Action report released today takes a look at ten things to expect next year if Republicans take control of the Senate.
1. Additional attempts to use the budget process to advance a conservative ideological agenda. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told Politico [add link] in August that he intends to use the appropriation process to push his conservative agenda should he become the Senate majority leader. In other words, should Republicans take the senate, McConnell has promised more of the same brinkmanship and political gridlock Congressional Republicans have used in the past few years.
2. More tax cuts for the wealthy and further spending cuts for middle- and working-class families. A Republican-controlled Senate would bring back the same old top-down, trickle-down economic policies that have been proven to benefit the very wealthy few at the expense of the rest, while hurting the overall economy.
3. Obstruction of well-qualified judicial nominees, leaving vacancies on federal courts. A GOP Senate would likely change the rules for judicial nominations reinstituting obstructionism by filibuster and stalling judicial nominations for years with the hope that a Republican president would be able to fill the vacancies in 2017 with ideologically conservative judges.
4. A vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Still outraged about the 50-plus repeal votes cast by Republicans in the House? Republicans in the Senate have indicated that even though the rest of the world is ready to move on, they still want to fight old political fights and move the country backwards by voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
5. Attempts to roll back women’s health gains. GOP senators and candidates have tried to distance themselves from their anti-women records this election season, but with safe control of the upper chamber they would most certainly vote legislation that is harmful to women’s health like an anti-abortion bill introduced last year by Sen. Graham (R-SC).
6. Use of the Congressional Review Act to weaken environmental rules, jeopardizing public health. A Republican Senate would try to undo all of the efforts the administration has been able to make combatting climate change putting the public health of current and future Americans at risk.
7. Action to dramatically expand people’s ability to carry concealed, loaded guns. Republicans in the Senate have already proven that they are beholden to the NRA, whose primary goal is to expand individual’s ability to carry concealed guns anywhere—including into bars, churches, and schools – via the National-Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act. With a majority in the Senate they would be able to pass this bill, undermining state’s current gun laws and creating a race-to-the-bottom in terms of gun safety.
8. Legislation that adversely affects the LGBT community. Following a continued expansion of same-sex marriages and recent support of marriage equality from the Supreme Court, Republicans in the Senate have proven that they are committed to restricting the rights of the LGBT community and they could do so by passing the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act that allows for government-sanctioned discrimination against the LGBT community.
9. Legislation to deport DREAMers. A year after passing comprehensive immigration reform, many Senate Republicans are distancing themselves from the bipartisan bill and instead siding with the extreme Senator Ted Cruz who wants to stop the Obama administration from carrying out DACA, which would help thousands of immigrant children.
10. New cuts to programs and rules that increase college access, affordability, and readiness. While the cost of higher education skyrockets and the United States continues to fall behind its peers in math, science and reading, a Republican Senate would make it harder for students to afford college.