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Republicans will enjoy new clout, face pressure

Republicans roared to victory in the November congressional elections by targeting President Barack Obama’s fiscal policies, asking, “Where are the jobs?”

Republicans roared to victory in the November congressional elections by targeting President Barack Obama’s fiscal policies, asking, “Where are the jobs?”

Once they take power from Obama’s Democrats in the House of Representatives when the new Congress convenes on Jan. 5, they will be held accountable to answer this and other questions.

How will they keep their promise to cut federal spending and reduce the federal deficit? How will they pump new life into the economy still recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression? Will they raise the federal debt limit or threaten a government default?

Republicans campaigned on promises to curb federal regulations, freeze the non-security federal workforce and reduce federal spending to 2008 levels. It is unclear whether any of these, if enacted, would create any jobs in the short run.

With the conservative Tea Party movement helping fan anti-establishment fire, scores of Democrats were thrown out of Congress in November. Voters gave Republicans a majority in the House and narrowed the Democrats’ Senate majority to 53-47.

Lowering the expectations?

Republicans point out that they are not solely in charge, giving them limited power to turn the economy around.

“We will bring legislation to the House that is pro-growth legislation. But last I looked, Barack Obama was still president; last I looked, Harry Reid was still Senate majority leader. As we all know, our ability to actually pass laws is going to be somewhat constrained,” said Jeb Hensarling, member of the House Republican leadership.

 
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