WASHINGTON — The 114th Congress is shaping up to be a battle of wills among various factions of the Republican Party with the US defense sector caught in the middle.
The GOP controls 245 seats in the 435-member House and 54 in the 100-seat Senate. And while the Senate’s rules give Democrats plenty of ways to block bills, many of the most important fights will pit Republicans against Republicans.
In the days and weeks immediately after last November’s midterm elections, political scholars and analysts predicted congressional Republicans would enact an agenda that would challenge President Barack Obama’s policies. But so far, in doing so, GOP factions have set off several intraparty fights.
“There are certainly blocks within the Republican Party, but you also have to include the Democratic minority in the Senate as a factor,” said Josh Holly, a principal at the Podesta Group and former communications director at the House Armed Services Committee. “These factions create very little room for error for leadership in getting enough votes. When you need 218 to pass legislation in the House, and 60 in the Senate, there’s little room for error.”
Some see an example for future bills in the Department of Homeland Security funding fight, which was sparked by the GOP’s far-right faction insisting a DHS appropriations bill include policy riders targeting the White House’s recent immigration action.
With the GOP factions jockeying for position and the Senate’s Democratic minority doing the same, it could be difficult to move legislation such as annual Pentagon spending and authorization bills to final votes.
Read More:GOP Factions Already Waging ‘Budget War’.