Balance of Power Remains Unchanged in US Congress

Posted November 7th, 2012 at 10:50 pm (UTC-5)
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While a few congressional seats changed hands in U.S. elections Tuesday, the balance of power in Congress remains the same, with Democrats in control of the Senate, and Republicans keeping their majority in the House of Representatives.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said now that the election is over, it is time to put politics aside and find solutions and compromise to the problems facing the country.

Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner congratulated President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on their reelection victory. But he warned that urgent action is needed with the country's looming “fiscal cliff” — $600 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts that are set to take effect January 1.

Boehner said the American people, who have elected Republicans to lead the House, have spoken and given politicians a mandate to work together.

In the Senate, Democrats took a number of key Senate races and will keep their slim majority. They will have 53 seats, while Republicans will have 45 seats. Independents will have two spots in the 100-member chamber.

With nearly all the House races called, projections indicate little will change in the 435-seat chamber. Republicans have 233 seats, while Democrats so far have won 192. Boehner will retain his post.

Democrats made key inroads in the Senate, with Massachusetts Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren beating Republican incumbent Senator Scott Brown. Democrats also won the swing state of Virginia, where Democratic former Governor Tim Kaine prevailed over Republican former Governor George Allen. In Ohio, Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown held off a challenge from Republican Josh Mandel.

Democrats also picked up a seat in Indiana, where Representative Joe Donnelly defeated Republican Richard Mourdock. The contest drew national attention after Mourdock made controversial remarks about rape and abortion. Another Republican candidate who made similarly controversial comments, Representative Todd Akin, also lost in Missouri to incumbent Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill. And in North Dakota, former state attorney general Heidi Heitkamp won a surprise victory over a heavily favored Republican congressman for a seat vacated by a retiring Democrat.

The Democrats also held on to Florida,where incumbent Bill Nelson defeated Republican Connie Mack, while in Maine, independent Angus King won the seat vacated by Republican Senator Olympia Snowe.

Polls have shown many Americans have been frustrated by what they see as rampant politicking and animosity, while seeing little improvement in their day-to-day lives. But their views of lawmakers appeared to improve in the weeks preceding Tuesday's election.