By Robert A. Vella

The last time Republicans had control over both houses of Congress was in 2006.  This was their first full week in charge of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives since then.  So, what kind of legislation have they been working on?  If you guessed an abortion ban, taking health insurance away from employees, cutting social security benefits, and pushing the Keystone XL pipeline, you are correct.

From ThinkProgressCongress Introduces A National Abortion Ban On Its Very First Day Back:

Republicans in Congress are wasting no time following through on the anti-abortion agenda the GOP laid out after winning significant gains in the 2014 midterm elections.

On Tuesday, the very first day of the 114th Congress, two lawmakers introduced a measure to ban abortions after 20 weeks, in direct violation of the protections afforded under Roe v. Wade. Reps. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) reintroduced the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the same legislation that successfully passed the House last year.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — who introduced a companion 20-week abortion ban in the Senate last year that was stalled by Democratic leadership — has already indicated that he plans to re-introduce his own measure in the next few weeks, too. Now that the Senate is GOP-controlled, Republicans are anticipating that they’ll have enough support to pass the ban in both chambers this year, helping the anti-choice community gain momentum for this particular tactic to limit reproductive rights.

From Daily KosFirst planned Republican Obamacare vote: Taking insurance away from 1.5 million workers:

The Republican Obamacare repeal assault will begin this week, when both chambers are expected to vote to exploit workers and take employer-sponsored insurance away from as many as 1.5 million people. What Republicans say they are doing is restoring full-time work, what they’re really doing is giving incentive to employers to make people work an almost 40-week without health insurance benefits. The employer mandate in Obamacare kicks in this year. It requires companies that have 50 or more employees either provide insurance to 95 percent of their full-time employees or pay a fine, and defines full-time work as 30 hours per week. Republicans want to change that definition to 40 hours.

From Daily KosRepublicans Move To Gut Social Security Benefits on Their First Day in Power:

Dear Americans: this is what you got when you skipped out on voting last November:

Republican opponents of Social Security have not wasted even a single day in their plan to dismantle Social Security brick by brick. What should be a dry, mundane exercise — the adoption of new rules by the newly convening House of Representatives — has turned into a stealth attack on America’s working families.

As one of their first orders of business, the House Republicans approved a rule preventing routine reallocation of Social Security funds to those men, women and children who receive Social Security Disability, unless such a reallocation is accompanied by either benefit cuts or tax increases:

From Yahoo NewsKeystone XL clears hurdle in Senate despite Obama veto threat:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senate Republicans on Thursday advanced a bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, their top priority in a new campaign to push back President Barack Obama’s policies now that they fully control Congress.

The Republican-led Senate Energy Committee approved the measure on a 13-9 vote, sending it to the full Senate for consideration next week. The House of Representatives has scheduled a vote to approve the pipeline on Friday.

Obama has threatened to veto the measure, setting up an early battle over the TransCanada Corp project that would link Canadian oil sands to refineries in Texas.

8 thoughts on “Republicans took control of Congress this week, here’s what they’ve been up to

  1. It’s said that Pres. Obama is prepared to veto the Keystone Pipeline measure if it goes through. Do you think he would veto all of these, should they be passed?


    • Presumably, he would. But, you never know when it comes to politics. Obama may have made some backroom deals with Republicans, and congressional Democrats might have done the same. The latter could give the GOP a veto-proof majority particularly on Keystone XL. Even if the Dems hold firm, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could restrict their ability to filibuster as payback for Harry Reid’s decision to do that on presidential nominations in the last session. I’ve learned never to underestimate Republican resolve.


      • Thanks for your answer. It’s too bad we don’t have more political parties represented in Congress – it might make backroom dealing a little harder to pull off.


        • I recently had an insightful discussion with a fellow blogger in Britain. When I expressed a similar opinion to yours about the advantages of a parliamentary system (more political parties), he explained that many of the problems in the U.S. also exist in the U.K. What’s relevant isn’t so much the kind of political system, but the way in which it works. In most of the western world, the way these various “democracies” work is by utilizing the faculties (money, etc.) of an entrenched socioeconomic “establishment” against the popular will. The only non-destructive force capable of combating this de facto plutocracy is an informed and engaged populace. Unfortunately, Americans are neither well-informed nor do they participate in the political process to any significant degree. For example, barely 36% of eligible voters cast ballots in the 2014 elections – the lowest voter turnout figure in a midterm since 1942 when the world was gripped in war.


        • The schools should teach a course called ‘The Psychology of Politics, Government, Propaganda & Civics.’ That would get to the heart of the matter, and inspire students to be critical thinkers/voters. A course like that would be both dark and humorous – unforgettable.


Comments are closed.