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November 01, 2014

Republicans to control Senate and House in 114th Congress

When the 114th Congress convenes in January, Republicans will control both houses of Congress   for the first time since 2006, with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) remaining in his position and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) moving into the role of Senate majority leader.

Current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will become Senate minority leader, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was re-elected to continue to serve in her position. 

Final numbers depend on Dec. 6 runoff elections in Louisiana for two House seats and a Senate seat and a recount for one House seat in Arizona, but the ratio so far of 188 Democrats to 244 Republicans in the House indicates the largest Republican majority since the Hoover administration. The Senate ratio currently stands at 44 Democrats, two Independents and 53 Republicans.

Both the House and Senate are expected to ramp up oversight and consideration of a number of issue areas, including the Affordable Care Act, financial services, privacy and data protection, the fight against the spread of Ebola, and tax reform.

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s incoming chairman, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), will be the first nonlawyer to hold the post. He indicated in a statement that he is working with committee members to develop “an agenda that promotes an environment where innovators can create jobs, policy reflects the rule of law, and our civil liberties are strengthened without undermining the efforts of law enforcement or our intelligence community.” 

Grassley also said the committee would not be a “rubber stamp” for the president’s judicial nominations, and the committee would carefully review the qualifications of nominees with a focus on intellectual ability, respect for the Constitution, fidelity to the law, personal integrity, appropriate judicial temperament and professional competence.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who will remain in his position for the 114th Congress, said his committee will build on House passage this Congress of several bills under the committee’s jurisdiction, including reforming intelligence-gathering programs, addressing problems of abusive patent litigation, reducing burdensome regulations, and requiring mandatory sanctions for attorneys who file frivolous lawsuits.

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