Democrats celebrate victory with focus on 'checks and balances' on Trump
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"Thanks to you, tomorrow will be a new day in America," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told supporters after walking on stage Tuesday night. "Remember this feeling. Know the power to win."
Democrats have been projected to win enough seats to take control of the lower chamber of Congress after eight years of Republican rule.
Pelosi, who is expected to seek the top job of House speaker, said House Democrats will use their newly won majority to pursue a bipartisan agenda and work for "solutions that bring us together."
"In stark contrast to the GOP Congress, a Democratic Congress who will be led with transparency and openness so that the public can see what's happening and how it affects them, and that they can weigh in with the members of Congress, and with the president of the United States,” she said.
“We will have accountability and we will strive for bipartisanship with fairness on all sides. We have a responsibility to find our common ground where we can, stand our ground where we can, but we must try,” added Pelosi, who was House speaker for four years beginning in 2007.
The top Democrat said that Tuesday’s vote was as much about President Trump and his populist agenda than anything else. "Today is more than about Democrats and Republicans. It’s about restoring the Constitution's checks and balances to the Trump administration.”
Other Democrats have also turned to what they plan to do once they begin their new terms in Congress.
After declaring that he feels "terrific" with the victory, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer stressed the importance of oversight of the Trump administration.
"I think we have an oversight responsibility that obviously hasn't been pursued by the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, and we're going to do that. That's our responsibility ... We will pursue that."
Political observers predict that the Senate, which remains under GOP control, will be consumed by the same tensions over presidential appointees and hemmed in by chamber rules.
On the House side, Democrats might choose to do what House Republicans did during Barack Obama’s presidency and automatically oppose anything Trump wants to do. They will argue, as Republicans did, that it is important for the 2020 general election to prevent the administration from succeeding.
The result will be more partisan gridlock and dysfunction in Washington.