WASHINGTON (CN) – A panel of political analysts on Friday discussed the future of politics in the wake of Tuesday’s midterm elections, predicting the passage of Republican agenda items, such as a bill to repeal health care reform, in the new Republican-controlled House.
“Parties don’t usually lose 9 or 10 percentage points in a single election,” political analyst Michael Barone said at the National Press Club.
Republicans increased their holding of House seats from 44 or 45 percent of the House to 52 or 53 percent, Barone said, which is equal to or slightly better than their performance in 1994 after Clinton’s first two years in office. Before 1994, the last time Republicans made such strong gains was in 1948, and before that in the 1920s, Barone said.
Democrats made similarly historic gains in the 2008 election as President Obama entered office.
The Republican-controlled House will likely pass Republican agenda measures, such as a bill repealing the health care law, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will likely block in the Senate, giving Republicans a chance to blame Reid, political analyst Susan Ferrechio said.
She said the votes cast in Tuesday’s elections were largely a result of anti-incumbent sentiment as opposed to a vote for Republican agenda items. She said she talked to many voters outside polling stations who planned to vote against Democratic candidates even if they didn’t know who the opposing candidates were.
“It didn’t matter who it was; they just wanted someone new in office,” she said. Ferrechio said she sensed an “intense level of disgust in the electorate” looking to change the face of Congress.
Obama said his biggest priority post-midterms was to extend Bush-era tax cuts.
Analyst Byron York said he saw “irreconcilable conflict” on this issue. Democrats largely favor extending tax cuts for those who make $250,000 or less, whereas Republicans largely support extending tax cuts for all earners regardless of income.
Republicans will also find some political leverage through their control of the House Budget Committee, which will present Obama with a budget in April.
The analysts said that even if other issues stalemate, Congress will extend tax cuts and pass a budget.
Newly elected Tea Party candidates are also expected to change the dynamics in Congress.
Likely House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, promised Tea Party candidates in an election night phone call, “I will never let you down,” but Ferrechio wondered how he would keep his promise when faced with Tea Party members refusing to vote to raise the debt ceiling.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced on Friday that she will run for Democratic leader in the House for the next Congress.
“We have no intention of allowing our great achievements to be rolled back,” Pelosi said in a press release. “Driven by the urgency protecting health care reform, Wall Street reform, and Social Security and Medicare, I have decided to run,” she wrote.
She also tweeted her announcement on Twitter.