The Last Saviour for the Republican Party

The Last Saviour for the Republican Party

Arav Wahi

After the Georgia elections wrapped up early this January, many people are now up to speed of how the current political situation stands. The Democratic Party technically now has complete control over the 117th Congress, which comprises the Senate and House of Representatives. This is very important for them, as the Biden Administration has a very specific agenda that is far from being bipartisan. Some of President Biden’s plans are to expand Obamacare to the extent that any citizen of the US can be insured under the plan. The Biden Administration also wants to push a renewable energy agenda which is also heavily contested by the Republican Party. The Biden Administration will not have to worry about these ideas passing either house of Congress as they control the majority in both of them. After the Georgia Runoff Election, the Democratic party won both seats, making the final Senate tally 50 to the Republicans, 48 to the Democrats, and two to Independents who side with the Democratic Party, with the tiebreaker to the vote being Vice President Kamala Harris. This means that if the Biden Administration maintains the 48 Democratic Senators along with the 2 Independents, they can pass any bill requiring a simple majority. The keyword being “if,” as the Democrats will not necessarily pass every bill. This is because the Republican Party needs to flip just one seat to prevent the Democrats from having near complete control over bills brought to Congress. This is where West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin comes into play. While being affiliated with the Democratic Party, Senator Manchin has conservative ideology, and falls under a small group of Conservative Democrats. He may be the Republican Party’s only hope of preventing the Democrats from passing their left-leaning agendas which will be virtually impossible to overturn once passed. 

 

A specific example of how the Biden Administration could face a major block in its expansive agenda is with the climate policy, where President Biden is a strong supporter of green energy. However, Senator Manchin is arguably one of the most fossil fuel-friendly Democrats in the current senate. On top of that, Senator Manchin is the ranking member of the Senate committee of Energy and Natural Resources, and likely will become the chairman of the committee now that the Democrats have control of the senate again. Not only does this committee influence the national energy policy, but impact the country’s climate policy in a way. He acknowledged the fact that he has a major impact on the Senate and results of bills in the Senate, but pushes for bipartisanship with it. “With tight margins in the House and Senate, Democrats and Republicans are faced with a decision to either work together to put the priorities of our nation before partisan politics, or double down on the dysfunctional tribalism,” he said. “For the sake of the country we all love, we must commit to solving the serious problems facing our nation.”

 

The 117th Congress will have a busy agenda dealing with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, which is ravaging the nation, but also with having to make bipartisan bills if either party wants to make any major changes, which in some sectors, like climate change, are more desperate than ever. Therefore, Senator Manchin will have a monumental role in the Senate and the future of the nation, so it will be interesting to see how both the Republican Party and Democratic party will fare with a conservative Democrat determining the fate of many important bills in President Biden’s first term.