New Congress means new changes

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Artwork by Eugine Chung, Infograph by Carina Calderón and Eugine Chung / Plaid Press

By Eugine Chung

On November 4, we watched with bated breath as blank maps of the 50 states turned either red or blue. This year’s midterm elections for the House of Representatives determined how our legislative branch will run for years to come.

Republicans won 69 out of 99 statehouse chambers with a key inclusion of more women and minority groups, such as Jill Upson, the first black Republican woman elected to the West Virginia House, and Victoria Seaman, the first Latina Republican elected to the Nevada Assembly.

Some were excited to see the Republican party win a majority of the seats in the 114th United States Congress. Others were disappointed to see the loss due to a regrettable low-voter turnout of 36.3 percent. Regardless of political stance, as the Democratic president and the now Republican Congress are now at a crossroad, many wonder what this means for America.

Some people speculate that the conflict between executive and legislative powers will create more standstills in actual progressive law making and compromise.

However, if anything, more than the general division of political stance, perhaps what might deter progress more is the increasing diversity, in age, culture, gender, etc. within the current Republican National Committee.

Nevertheless, the results of the 2014 midterm elections have shifted the dynamic of the political clout in Washington D.C.

President Barack Obama did not change his personnel after the election. He chose instead to highlight the importance of compromise and mutual hard work; however, passing bills has already proven to be difficult and an obvious barrier, creating tensions within the capitol.

Recently, on the floor, Obama has pressed to create more funding to address Ebola, ISIS, and immigration policies. Particularly controversial was his position to safeguard about five million illegal immigrants and allow them to work safely without being forced to turn back to their native countries.

Anticipating opposition, Obama released to the press that he hopes to exercise his executive powers and enact changes in policy that the nation has gridlocked for the past terms.

“The actions I’m taking are not only lawful, they’re the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican president and every Democratic president for the past half-century. To those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill,” Obama said in his 15-minute address concerning his current directives.

Several Republicans responded negatively, threatening to enact another government lockdown, delay monetary funds, and highlight other pressing issues to decrease the eminence of immigration talks.

The reactions to these immigration policies may likely mirror the upcoming atmosphere and political clout settling in the nation as the U.S. government hopes to balance progress and conciliation.

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