Democrats say voters rejected extremism as Republicans point blame

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On Sunday, Democrats were celebrating maintaining their majority in the Senate after Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) was up for re-election, even as control of the House remained undetermined. His victory secured the 50th Senate seat for Democrats and dashed Republican hopes of taking control of both houses of Congress, as many had predicted in the weeks leading up to Election Day.

“When far-right Republicans said they knew better, I knew we were going to prove them wrong,” Cortez Masto said in a victory speech on Sunday. “This election, the people of Nevada rejected the far-right politicians who worked to divide us. We rejected their conspiracies, their attacks on our workers, and their efforts to restrict our freedoms.

With the Senate runoff in Georgia next month between Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D) and Republican Herschel Walker, Democrats have a shot at clinching a 51st seat, a stunning feat in a midterm election year that generally does not favor the party in Power.

The developments have prompted some frustrated Republicans to ask Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to clearly outline a Republican agenda and delay their leadership elections scheduled for Wednesday.

Parties brace for final bumper Senate race in Georgia

If Democrats win a 51st Senate seat in Georgia’s runoff election, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) could sidestep a power-sharing resolution with Republicans, in place in Senate 50-50 reason, and more easily confirming President Biden’s judicial nominees.

Democrats now have more leeway to use their narrow congressional majorities to push through the final priorities before losing control of the House in the new year. Had the Republicans won back the Senate, the Democrats would be spending much of their time frantically pushing through must-have legislation before losing the hammers of the Senate committees.

Now they can turn to the priorities they set out before midterm, including additional funding for Ukraine, the National Defense Authorization Act, the overhaul of the Voter Count Act, the codification of same-sex marriage into federal law and government funding.

Schumer on Saturday night called the results a “vindication” of the Democratic agenda and a rejection of Republican extremism. On Sunday, he called on Republican lawmakers to work with Democrats, but declined to go into specifics about what they would try to accomplish. He said Democrats would try to have “as productive a lame session as possible.”

“Maybe the Republican Party, which has been so negative on so many different issues, will realize that the election was a clarion call from the American people: stop all that negativity, stop flirting with autocracy, stop to spend your time denying the election, and working to do something,” Schumer said.

Some Senate Republicans, including Rick Scott (Florida), chairman of the House Republican campaign arm, criticized McConnell for allowing Republicans to cross the aisle and helping Democrats pass some key pieces of legislation with their narrow majority over the past two years, including an infrastructure bill and investment in microchip manufacturing.

“Republican leaders gave in to the debt ceiling, gave in to the gun deal, gave in to a bogus infrastructure deal,” Scott said Sunday on Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” while criticizing McConnell for not releasing his own Republican platform before the halfway point.

Scott’s Republican platform, which calls for tax increases for low-income earners and frequent reauthorization votes for Social Security and Medicare, has been blamed by some Republicans, including New York’s governor. Hampshire’s Chris Sununu (R), for scaring off older voters ahead of the midterm elections. The White House and Democrats have used the plan repeatedly to warn that Republicans want to target rights programs if elected.

Democratic lawmakers remained confident on Nov. 13 after their party took control of the Senate, though control of the House remains unclear. (Video: The Washington Post)

Rep. Chris Pappas (DN.H.) won a third term — a feat that hasn’t happened in his district in 25 years — because he hammered Trump sidekick Karoline Leavitt for his positions on the social Security.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who was narrowly reelected, echoed much of Scott’s criticism on Fox News and also called for a postponement of the leadership election. But other Republican senators, including Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.) and Bill Cassidy (La.), publicly defended McConnell on Sunday and said they support his leadership bid.

No senator has yet announced a challenge to McConnell, who will become the longest-serving leader of either party in the Senate in the next Congress if re-elected. A representative for McConnell declined to comment on Sunday.

As of Nov. 12, Democrats held enough seats in the Senate to maintain their majority while the House had yet to be determined. Here’s how long it can take. (Video: Blair Guild/The Washington Post)

Others have squarely blamed former President Donald Trump, who backed several Republican candidates in battleground states that lost, including Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz and Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters. .

“This is essentially the third consecutive election that Donald Trump has cost us the race. And it’s like, three strikes, you’re out,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), a longtime Trump critic, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result,” he said. “I’m tired of losing. That’s all he did.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday credited Biden and Democratic voters for the midterm wins. She called on her party to lift the debt ceiling during the lame duck session to ensure Republicans won’t be able to hold back their votes to lift it next year if Republicans win back the House. Some House Republicans had floated the idea of ​​demanding spending cuts and repealing IRS funding in exchange for lifting the debt ceiling.

House Republican aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private deliberations, admitted they will need the help of Democrats if they win a narrow majority to approve must-have legislation like funding the government. Many are hoping Democrats will breach the debt ceiling in the lame session, a concession from just weeks ago when they hoped to use it as leverage to push through top GOP priorities for the year. next.

Schumer said he would discuss lifting the debt ceiling during the lame session with his members. It’s unclear if enough Senate Republicans would cross the aisle to support the move, or if even the entire Democratic caucus would be willing to preemptively lift the debt ceiling in an online vote.

Take a look at the latest House midterm election results here

Control of the House hung in the balance on Sunday, with neither party yet to secure the 218 seats needed to secure a majority. Most unscheduled congressional races are in California, where ballots are valid as long as they are postmarked on Election Day and where the final election tally could take weeks to be determined.

In a major upset on Saturday night, Democrats flipped a seat in a reliable Republican district in Washington state as Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez defeated Trump-backed Republican challenger Joe Kent. The former president promoted Kent to the primary against Representative Jamie Herrera Beutler, who voted to impeach Trump after the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.

Could the Democrats still win a majority in the House?

As of Sunday afternoon, Republicans had won 211 seats in the House, while Democrats had taken 203. Democrats are unlikely to retain control of the House, although Republicans are still favored to secure a narrow majority . Despite that, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) struck an upbeat and celebratory tone during the talks on Sunday.

“It was nothing we ever accepted when the pundits in Washington said we couldn’t win because history, history, history. Elections are about the future,” Pelosi said on ABC’s “This Week” show. “I am very proud of our candidates, both our incumbents and our red to blue candidates. They never accepted experts they couldn’t win over, they had courage, they had purpose, and they understood their district.

Pelosi brushed aside any questions about whether she would run for House speaker again if Democrats clung to a majority in the chamber, saying she only wanted to focus on the results of the race. She added that she was “disappointed” with what happened in New York.

That’s where Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, lost his race. “But we didn’t give up,” Pelosi said. “We’ve got the White House, we’ve got the Senate, and we’re going to have a big strong vote in the House, a very different outcome than some would have predicted.”

Steven Zeitchik contributed to this report.

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