by Jeff Overlay
The U.S. Senate’s flip to GOP hands will add new turmoil to health care policymaking as Republicans launch fresh assaults on the Affordable Care Act, but it also sets the stage for important compromises as the party eyes 2016, experts say.
The Republican Party won control of the U.S. Senate in Tuesday’s midterm elections, taking seats held by Democratic incumbents in several key battleground states to secure the majority after holding onto the U.S. House of Representatives earlier in the evening.
The GOP had needed to reel in six seats to retake the Senate following eight years of Democratic control, and by late Tuesday had done just that in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia to push them to victory.
The overarching challenge for Republicans now will be balancing conservative priorities with a recognition that White House veto power looms large, making concessions essential if the GOP hopes to enact meaningful legislation and prove its governing chops.
That tension is especially stark because the party has only a narrow window of opportunity to make its mark during the Obama administration’s twilight years. By summer 2016, election season will be in full swing, and as early as summer 2015, several Senate Republicans could start spending most of their time on the presidential campaign trail.
“They expect they’ll have a six-month window to legislate” with the full powers of their new majority, Julius W. Hobson Jr., a health care lobbyist at Polsinelli PC, told Law360.
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