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A House (and Senate) divided: What a split legislature could look like when the 116th U.S. Congress convenes in 2019




The 116th Congress members-elect pose for a group photo on the East Front Plaza of the US Capitol in Washington, DC on November 14, 2018.
The 116th Congress members-elect pose for a group photo on the East Front Plaza of the US Capitol in Washington, DC on November 14, 2018.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

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We’re just over a month away from the start of the next session of Congress and Democrats have taken a commanding majority of the House. Republicans, meanwhile, strengthened their majority in the Senate.

House Democrats caucus tomorrow over the party’s leadership and potential rules for moving legislation. It’s expected to highlight factional differences between recently elected progressives and more moderate Democrats. Bipartisanship was hard to come by during the last two years with a Republican-controlled House and Senate, and the outlook for more agreement across the aisle in the coming two years doesn’t look much rosier for a legislature whose two houses will be split along party lines when the 116th Congress convenes in January of 2019.

House Democrats have vowed to push back against the president’s legislative agenda and even called for further investigation into President Trump and his administration. They sit in somewhat of a position of power from a fiscal standpoint, as congressional rules require most spending measures to originate in the House.

For their part, Republicans are likely to block most legislation that would come out of the House, like any changes to Medicare for All or the ACA. President Trump has said he’s willing to work with House Democrats on some issues but warned that subpoenas or investigations would close off any avenue for cooperation.

With a split Congress, what’s the potential for passing major legislation, particularly on health care? Are there any policy areas where there could be bipartisan cooperation?

Guests:

Jennifer Haberkorn, congressional reporter for the Los Angeles Times’ Washington, D.C. bureau; she tweets @jenhab

Matt Rodriguez, Democratic strategist and founder and chief executive officer of Rodriguez Strategies. He is also a former senior Obama advisor in 2008; he tweets @RodStrategies

Pete Peterson, dean of the School of Public Policy and senior fellow at The Davenport Institute at Pepperdine University; he tweets @Pete4CA