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WHAT'S AHEAD IN THE NEW CONGRESS.

Perhaps the most consequential same-day, same-state-U.S. Senate elections of modern times will take place on January 5, 2021, in the state of Georgia. 



On that date, voters in a single state will determine whether the new 117th U.S. Senate will have a majority of Democrats or Republicans.  The race includes Sen. Kelly Loeffler versus Raphael Warnock and Sen. David Perdue versus Jon Ossoff.

Because the U.S. Constitution says whomever is Vice President of the United States is also President of the U.S. Senate, and therefore can vote if he or she chooses to, especially on highly-controversial matters, it is possible that the Democrats could improve their voting total to 50 votes if they win both Georgia races, giving them a clear-majority when Kamala Harris, a current U.S. Senator from California, becomes Vice President.

If the Republicans win only one of those two contested Georgia senate seats, they would have a majority of 51 seats; had Vice President Mike Pence retained his office, the GOP would have 52 votes.

The House of Representatives is controlled by the Democrats, but by the lowest margin since the early 2000s.

Here’s what all this means and why it is important. 

The best-case scenario for the Democrats would be to win both Georgia senate seats and have Kamala Harris become Vice President.

If a Senate dominated by Democrats decides to do away with the so-called filibuster – that is a fancy word for needing 60 votes to pass any important legislation – their likely wish-list of major new initiatives would make the new U.S. Senate the most consequential since President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs were passed overwhelmingly in that upper legislative body in near-record time during the 1960s.

If the Democrats become the majority in the senate, and former Vice President Biden becomes the new President of the United States, here are the ten most important legislative proposals to watch for:

+   statehood proposals for Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.  This would give the Democratic Party a probable added four new seats in the U.S. Senate because both Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia are overwhelmingly Democratic;

+   some version of graduated amnesty for millions of people who are living in the United States illegally.  This number could be as high as 15 million and as low as 11 million;

+   the end of the filibuster.  This voting-protocol has been a fundamental tool to give strong representation and input to the minority party; without it, and especially on all controversial matters, the majority opinion would always prevail.  This is decidedly not what our Founders wanted or envisioned;

+   the end of the Electoral College. The ramifications of ending the Electoral College are immense and would constitute one of the most radical changes in American history.  The Founders designed it as a stop-gap to allowing the largest states by population to have an outsize influence on the governing of the country. They were wise in its design. Abolishing the electoral college would be a mistake of enormous proportions;

+   creating a larger public option for health care in America.  What this would amount to would be the eventual abolition of private insurance and the building a single-payer health care system much like Western Europe’s socialized medical systems.  Most progressives see this as the logical next-step after ObamaCare;

+   the provision of monetary reparations for slavery. Many members of the present House and Senate favor this idea and are keen to begin its design and implementation;

+  major tax increases. Vice President Biden and Senator Harris, in their primary bids for the Democratic presidential nomination, and during their summer political convention, promised substantial increases in several sectors of American life totaling into the trillions of dollars;

+   codifying Roe v. Wade into federal law and abolishing the Hyde Amendment.  Democrats have long been uncomfortable with the possible chipping-away at the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision imposing abortion in all 50 states up to and including the ninth month of pregnancy.  Both Biden and Harris favor transforming the abortion decision into standing federal law. Similarly, the Hyde Amendment has banned federal funding of abortion successfully Congress after Congress.  The Democrats strongly favor taxpayer-funded abortion, and the toppling and ultimate repealing of Hyde is a major goal;

+   expanding the Supreme Court by up to three seats.  The U.S. Constitution does not mandate the number of justices, but the present nine-member model has been the standard for over a century.  Packing the court to add more liberal justices is an idea that Vice President Biden would strongly consider, and has promised to convene a new national advisory counsel likely to recommend new seats on America’s highest court;

+   voiding religious exemptions from various federal laws. Currently, the cornerstone protection of religious liberty and conscience protections at the federal level – congruent with the Constitution itself – are provisions in federal law that rightly give churches and religious institutions broad leeway.  Biden and Harris are uncomfortable with that latitude and, for instance, strongly favor punishing the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious groups by removing foundational protections.  We would see much more of that anti-Little Sisters model in a new senate; and finally,

+   elements of the Green New Deal would be proposed and enacted; as with most major environmental legislation, the ramifications for families and communities would be directive and burdensome.  Also, population control and mandates on suburban, exurban, and rural America would be an essential element of long-term environmentalism.  The vague nature of the Green New Deal is seen by its strongest proponents as a plus so that potential opponents or critics are kept in the dark until the last moment.

A sage once observed that “elections have consequences.”  Perhaps none as consequential as the pending 117 United States Congress depending on how those elections in Georgia transpire.

Timothy S. Goeglein is vice president of External and Government Relations for Focus on the Family, Washington, D.C.

Be Informed

Identity politics are popping up everywhere, even at places like the Smithsonian Museum. Learn more from Joy Pullman in a recent Issues, Etc. interview.

 

Be Equipped

Did you know that Planned Parenthood aborted some 1,500 babies each day in 2018? The numbers from their annual reports will horrify you. Click here to read more.

 

Be Encouraged

“As this New Year begins and you make resolutions of things to do for yourself, consider ways in which you could spend one hour a week helping someone in need—at a crisis pregnancy center, a hospice house, a nursing home, etc.” –Rev. Scott Licht, National Director of Lutherans For Life, www.lutheransforlife.org

 

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