U.S. Voters Sending Divided Government to Washington is Normal

Do U.S. voters like divided federal government?


The last time one party maintained:

  • a filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate,
  • control of the U.S. House of Representatives , and
  • the Office of the President

was in the 95th Session of Congress from  1977-79.  Democrats maintained 61 members in the U.S. Senate, 292 members in the U.S. House and Jimmy Carter was President.

But, in the 40 years following this time, the legislative and executive branches of government have been divided by political parties in control for 28 years, or 70 percent of the time.

In many of the 12 years where one party controlled both the legislative and executive branches of the government, the use of the filibuster in the US Senate protected the minority party because it prevented the majority party from acquiring the needed 60 votes to close debate on an issue.

2018 mid-term elections

The 2018 mid-term elections again showcased U.S. voters’ desire for checks-and-balances in their government.  With the Florida Senate race still undecided, it appears Senate Republicans will gain a net pick-up of one seat. As many expected, U.S. voters sent more Democrats to the “People’s House” (of Representatives) in Washington.   Currently, Democrats gained a net pick up at least 32 seats in the U.S. House and a handful of races not yet called.

Can a Divided Congress Enact Meaningful Legislation in the 116th Congress?

Yes, we think so.  Here is a list of potential legislative initiatives that have a high likelihood of enactment in the 116th Congress:

  • Budget Deal to increase budget caps & increase debt borrowing authority
  • Annual Appropriations
  • Farm Bill (USDA Oversight)
  • National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)
  • Immigration Reform
  • Infrastructure bill
  • Renewable Fuel
  • Trade:
    • Ratify U.S. – Mexico – Canada (USMCA) Agreement
    • Other Bilateral Trade deals
    • China

If you would like additional details on each of these issues contact us at [email protected]

Cansler Consulting government relations lobbyists At Cansler Consulting we understand that in Washington, D.C. change is the only constant. Advocacy in Washington is also changing and we are at the forefront using new technologies and data to help us focus on strategies that improve our client's return on investment. Our core lobbying strategies are driven by the value at stake from federal legislative & regulatory actions. Leading studies indicate that today's business value impacted by government and regulatory action, or inaction can reach as high as 30 percent of earnings for most companies. With as much as one-third of earnings at stake, it is imperative that companies, industries and organizations engage in government relations. If you need effective representation from a bipartisan, entrepreneurial government relations firm contact Cansler Consulting. We are certified by the National Institute of Lobbying and Ethics and have decades of experience assisting clients in issue areas including Agriculture, Budget & Appropriations, Food Safety, Transportation & Infrastructure, International Trade and Energy. Through our relationships established in Washington, D.C. and throughout the U.S. for over two decades we can help you the legislative and regulatory processes on Capitol Hill and inside federal agencies. You can contact us at

Tim Cansler