Democrats Win Control of House
Democrats will take control of the House in the 110th Congress and likely will seek to pass legislation to revise the Medicare prescription drug benefit and to expand federal funding for embryonic stem cell research (Zuckman, Chicago Tribune, 11/8).
Democrats, who will take control of the House for the first time since 1994, on Tuesday won at least 28 additional seats in the chamber. Democrats needed to win 15 additional seats to take control of the House.
In addition, Democrats won at least four additional seats in the Senate. Democrats needed to win six additional seats to take control of the Senate and will take control of the chamber in the event that they win two undecided races in Montana and Virginia (CNN.com, 11/8).
In the House, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) likely will become the first female speaker (Kellman, AP/Washington Examiner, 11/8).
As part of her agenda, Pelosi will seek to pass legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies for discounts on prescription drugs, as well as a number of other bills, within the first 100 hours after the House convenes. Pelosi also will seek to pass legislation to remove restrictions that President Bush has placed on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research (California Healthline, 10/30).
According to Bloomberg, Pelosi will have to "reconcile the competing demands of a Democratic majority that hasn't agreed on concrete plans" on legislation to expand access to health care and other issues. Pelosi added, "There's plenty of area for us as a party to go in with some of our priorities about jobs, health care, education. We don't have to fight on what we disagree on, we can just work on what we agree on" (Litvan, Bloomberg, 11/8).
Meanwhile, the White House has said that President Bush "wants to overhaul" Medicare, but "given his failure last year to make progress on his Social Security proposal, there is little reason to believe he will be able to persuade the new Congress to go along," the Baltimore Sun reports (Hirschfeld Davis, Baltimore Sun, 11/8).