What would GOP do with Senate majority? Immigration, Keystone and more at stake

by Kelley Beaucar Vlahos  |  published on November 3, 2014

While all the pre-Election Day chatter centers on whether Republicans will retake the Senate, the bigger question is: If they succeed, what will they do with the power?

More than bragging rights are on the line. Important debates over issues ranging from immigration to the Keystone Pipeline to Iran’s nuclear program to taxes – perhaps even parts of ObamaCare — remain unresolved heading into President Obama’s final two years in office.

The balance of power in Congress could shape all of them, in the relatively narrow window before 2016 politics grind everything, once again, to a halt.

Should Mitch McConnell both survive his general election challenge and ascend to majority leader – with his party holding the House majority, as it most likely will – Republicans would find themselves in an enviable position. They’d have the obvious perks of majority-hood, able to pressure the administration with investigations and hearings from both chambers; to hold up Obama nominees to key appointments even more; and, when able to cobble together a filibuster-proof majority, to pass bills and repeal laws of their choosing, if only to force the president to employ his veto pen.

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