The Red Wave never materialized. Nonetheless, the Republicans -- with a very slim majority -- will soon take over the House of Representatives. Paul Krugman writes:
The modern G.O.P., in case you haven’t noticed, isn’t a normal political party. It barely has policy goals, other than an almost reflexive desire to cut taxes on the rich and deny aid to those in need. It certainly doesn’t have policy ideas.
Republicans spent much of the election talking about inflation. But in a news conference just after securing a narrow majority in the House, top Republicans declared that their top priority would be … investigating the Biden family.
So the G.O.P. won’t help govern America. It will, in fact, almost surely do what it can to undermine governance. And Democrats, in turn, need to do whatever they can both to thwart political sabotage and to make the would-be saboteurs pay a price.
What should the Democrats do?
Two issues in particular stand out: the debt limit and aid to Ukraine.
For historical reasons, U.S. law in effect requires that Congress vote on the budget twice. First, it authorizes spending and sets tax rates; then, if that legislation leads to budget deficits, it must separately vote to authorize borrowing to cover those deficits.
It’s not clear why this ever made sense. In the current environment, it allows politicians who don’t have the votes to change policy through normal procedure to hold the economy for ransom, as Republicans did during the Obama years, or simply blow it up out of sheer spite — because failing to raise the debt limit would probably cause a global financial crisis. Does anyone expect the incoming G.O.P. House to behave responsibly?
As for Ukraine, while the Ukrainians have been incredibly brave and remarkably successful in turning back Russian invasion, they need a continuing inflow of Western aid, both military and economic, to continue the fight against their much larger neighbor.
The Democrats must pass legislation dealing with the debt ceiling to keep the government going. The Republicans will surely try to shut the government down. They've tried that gambit before. And the Democrats must also pass legislation to continue financial support for Ukraine. The Republicans have also threatened to shut that funding off.
After that, the Republicans will start their investigations -- and nothing will get done.
Image: The American Prospect