Experts Predict Little Productivity in New Congress

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As experts predicted, Republicans won back control of the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday night. And Ohio voters helped with the switch in power in Washington. WOSU reports on what this could mean for Central Ohio.

Before Tuesday night, Ohioans had 10 Democrats representing them in the U.S. House along with eight Republicans. But beginning next year, the GOP will hold the majority with 13 Republicans and only five Democrats serving Ohio. And with U.S. 8th District Congressman John Boehner likely voted Speaker of the House, the Ohio delegation should hold a much higher profile in Congress.

Boehner, though, may find it difficult to get anything done as experts predict a less-compromising caucus than the current one. Ohio State history and law professor David Stebbins said productivity could prove difficult when the newly-elected representatives take their seats.

“Most of the new members elected to the Republican House caucus are strongly conservative. They’re not compromising kinds of people at least on day one. In the short run, probably not a lot of production,” Stebbins said.

OSU political science professor Paul Beck said the new congressional members are less centric than the current ones. And he expects the next two years will be confusing for constituents.

“It’s going to be hard for voters, as it often is, to hold particular parties accountable for what happens. They may hold everybody jointly accountable. And it will be really interesting to see what happens in 2012,” Beck said.

Beck said the new Congress will weigh heavily on the bipartisan deficit commission’s December report when considering its agenda and where to make cuts.

“If they go ahead and continue the Bush-era tax cuts that’s not really a stimulative cut in taxes, it’s just a continuation of the status quo,” Beck said.

OSU professor David Stebbins said Boehner likely will have Republican Steve Stivers, 15th District Congressman-elect, in his corner as a more flexible vote. But Stebbins predicts Boehner will have to educate other new members on compromise. “Not in a patronizing way, literally these are the political facts of life. We have to compromise in order to get anything done. And if we don’t get anything done we could be blamed in a way that would be very bad for us as a party and for you new members on the Republican side in particular,” Stebbins said.

The new Congress members take their seats in January.

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