Split Congress must work to solve issues

With 53 Democrats, two Independents and 45 Republicans in the Senate, the Democratic Party reigns. While in the House of Representatives, there is a Republican majority with 241 Republicans and 194 Democrats, which leads some Americans to ask, “Will anything get done?”

Eastern Michigan University political science professor Jeff Bernstein said he thinks things will get done.

“Something will have to get done, though I don’t see them coming together to work for the good of our country,” Bernstein said.

Alexis Cantrell, a freshman studying occupational therapy at EMU, said, “It’s both good and bad because we will have diverse opinions, but some opinions are too strong and nothing will get accomplished.”

Though the Republicans lost seats in the House of Representatives and the Democrats gained two seats in the Senate, not much has changed since 2010 when many Democratic seats were lost in Congress.

“[In 2010], the Republicans got the mandate to do what they wanted,” Bernstein said. “They don’t have that mandate now, it’s harder to make things work. Obama is confronting a very hostile House of Representatives and an uncertain Senate.”

EMU political science professor Joanna Scott said the balance of power in Congress hasn’t really changed.

“It’s the same old, same old. What needs to happen in order for change is Obama’s willingness to use the veto; he can’t back off on it or just threaten it anymore. He was not aggressive enough with the House of Representatives in the past,” she said.

Both Bernstein and Scott agree the Republican Party will have to make changes in order to get back into power. They agree there will have to be a way to compromise their views or change something in order to gain more support.

“They cannot continue to blow off sectors of the population,” Scott said.

Bernstein agreed.

“They need to figure out who they want to be,” he said. “It isn’t clear that they agree right now. They have spent so much time on Obama recently, now they have to figure out who they are and how they get there.”

One thing is certain: The two sectors of Congress will have to come together by Jan. 1, 2013 in order to solve the looming financial “cliff” that lies ahead of us.

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