Think we’d have to wait for all potential Republican Senate wins in November to become official in January at the swearing in ceremony? Think again. The Wall Street Journal reports on a little known but tantalizing tidbit of information concerning how the Democrat majority in the Senate could shake out immediately after the fall elections:
At least three Senate victors could be seated immediately after the November elections, raising the possibility that Democrats could see their majority cut for the end of the year as Congress deals with several key pieces of legislation.
Lawmakers are typically seated in January. But deaths, a resignation and a series of Democrats taking jobs in the Obama administration forced six states to fill Senate vacancies through appointment since 2008, including those created by the president and vice president.
Terms for three of those appointed senators—from Illinois, West Virginia and Delaware—expire after elections Nov. 2.
State laws require replacements to be seated immediately, and Republicans are seen as having a shot at winning in Illinois and West Virginia. The GOP candidate in Delaware, tea-party-backed Christine O’Donnell, is trailing Democratic nominee Chris Coons by double digits in recent polls.
In Colorado, where the election is considered a toss-up, Republicans also intend to push for a speedy appointment.
The possibility of early seating has created a window for candidates such as Republican John Raese in West Virginia, who tells voters he could stop a last-ditch spending effort in the lame-duck session—the period between the election and installation of a new Congress. Mr. Raese is running for Senate against the state’s Democratic governor, Joe Manchin.
“John is certainly going to Washington to oppose legislation,” said Mr. Raese’s campaign manager, Jim Dornan. Mr. Dornan said Mr. Raese would try to help pass legislation in the next Congress.
Rep. Mark Kirk, a Republican congressman running for President Barack Obama’s old Senate seat in Illinois, has created a separate website for the issue, saveusfromthelameduck.com. He mentions it “pretty much everywhere he goes,” his spokeswoman said.
Polls show him ahead of his Democratic opponent, state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.
“I would become the 42nd Republican senator, with the opportunity to put the breaks on any lame-duck overreach,” Mr. Kirk said in a video on his website. Democrats are currently expected to lose about six to eight Senate seats.
The Senate’s 41 Republicans can already block legislation at will, as Democrats need 60 votes to stop a filibuster. Pending business for the lame-duck session includes spending bills, the Dec. 31 expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the expected recommendations from Mr. Obama’s debt commission, which reports in early December. Representatives for Majority Leader Harry Reid wouldn’t comment on a lame-duck agenda.
If all three Republican candidates win in states that allow for immediate seating, Democrats would struggle to pass anything that would trigger a GOP filibuster. The party would need to wrangle as many as four Republican votes to proceed.
That would not be outside the realm of possibility, considering that some of those like Kirk who, if they win and are seated immediately as required by law, could become another Senate GOP moderate and side with Democrats on occasion but the wins would definitely make it much harder than it is now with the current Senate make-up. Not only that, but at least in the short term (the lame duck session) I would think that even a newly-elected moderate GOP Senator would want to demonstrate that he or she understands that the reason why they won is because voters have turned against the big government liberalism of President Obama and the Democrat majorities in the House and Senate – and as a result would side accordingly with the GOP, which is what Senator Scott Brown did on the health care “reform” issue shortly after being elected in MA.
In any event, November looks to be a promising month for anyone (conservatives, moderates, independents) fed up with the words, actions, and legislation coming from the majority party in Washington, DC. I have a good feeling about the GOP winning the House this year. The Senate is another matter, but at the very least – as the WSJ noted – cutting hard into the left’s majority in the Senate will make their attempts at passing far left legislation that much harder, pretty much guaranteeing the left is going to have many more uphill battles over the next two years as it is forced to try and use an any-means-necessary approach to getting legislation passed (as we saw with ObamaCare). And if the sentiment in 2012 is anything like it is now – and I suspect it will be – not only will we see control of the Senate return to the GOP (in addition to maintaining the House majority I think we will already have), but there’s a strong likelihood that the WH will, at last, no longer be controlled by a Socialist-in-Training. Our biggest worries at that point will be to watch closely to make sure that the Republican-controlled Congress and the Republican in the WH don’t screw up the opportunities we had and lost when we had the chance back during 2000-2006.