U.S. Electorate Sends Washington More of the Same: Gridlock!

Gridlock from the Ballot boxGoing into the 2012 general election there was much fanfare about the U.S. electorate being upset with partisan bickering and wanting more accomplished by the lawmakers they send to Washington, DC.  Presidential, Senate, and House candidates throughout the country spent months harshly campaigning and over $6 billion1 . The result – the President was re-elected without a clear policy mandate and Congress remains divided, suggesting partisan gridlock will continue.

Who’s Who on the Hill?

The 113th Congressional session, beginning January 2013, will have a total of 12 Senate freshmen (9 Democrats, 3 Republicans) and 75 House freshmen (40 Democrats, 35 Republicans).  The Democrat majority in the U.S. Senate picked up two seats including Indiana (Richard Mourdock) and Massachusetts (Elizabeth Warren).  It is expected that Angus King, I-ME, who won the seat being vacated by retiring Senator Olympia Snowe (R), will caucus with Democrats as does Bernie Sanders, I-VT.  Republicans picked up the seat being vacated by retiring Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE).  Senate Democrats remain six votes short of the needed 60 votes to overcome a filibuster. The balance of power in the U.S. Senate will be 54 Democrats, 45 Republicans, and 1 Independents.

The Republicans who control the U.S. House of Representatives will lose between four and eight seats from their majority (contested races remain). Currently, excluding contested races, the balance of power in the U.S. House of Representatives for the 113th session is 234 Republicans and 194 Democrats.

Legislative leaders must work toward a balanced approach

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A quickly convened conference call one day after the general election between House and Senate leaders and President Obama is encouraging for the short term as legislative leaders must work toward a bi-partisan agreement to avoid sending the U.S. over the “fiscal cliff.” This compromise may include a combination of revenue generators and federal program cuts. A plan is developing and may include as much as $100 billion in reduced spending, as a deficit reduction down payment, coupled with allowing some of the tax cuts to expire at the end of December.

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) did commit to support additional revenues through changes in the tax code so long as there are spending reductions in entitlement programs.  Boehner has since backed away from this commitment as the Tea Party members of the Republican caucus follow their own ideology which does not allow them to support any increase in taxes. Thus, gridlock continues.

And the question is…

So, with very little getting done in Congress how does an organization make the most of its limited government affairs budget and continue to advocate successfully for important issues?

At Cansler Consulting we specialize in making the most of your limited government affairs budget. By using integrated strategies including technological advocacy tools, social media and coalition support ensures a positive response to your issue from lawmakers, which elevates your chances of achieving your objectives.


Cansler Consulting is a certified lobbying practice that is experienced in the multi-faceted and inter-related industries of Agriculture, Food and Drug Safety, Immigration, Transportation & Infrastructure, International Trade and Energy. Through our congressional and regulatory relationships established for over two decades we can help you influence the policy makers on Capitol Hill and navigate the federal budgeting process. You can contact us at info@canslerconsulting.com or at (202) 220-3150.

Tim Cansler
  1. Center for Responsive Politics []
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