United States: Donald J. Trump Elected President And Republicans Maintain Congressional Majority

At approximately 2:40 a.m., Hillary Clinton conceded the election to Donald J. Trump, setting him on the path to become the 45th President of the United States. The House of Representatives and the Senate will also remain in Republican control.

Success in the first 100 days of Trump's presidency will be determined by the ability of the Republican Party to unite internally. Unlike most Presidents, Trump does not enter office with the general support of his party's elected officials in Congress. Before Trump can begin working on his vision, especially where directing federal funding is required, those fences will need to be mended.

In addition, while the election outcomes are a technical victory for the Republican Party, Congressional Democrats will not be facing a united front come January. The House Freedom Caucus will remain a significant voice and will likely support a challenge to the current Republican leadership team in the House of Representatives. Although not the largest caucus within the House, the Freedom Caucus's influence on legislation, particularly where the federal budget is impacted, will challenge Republican Senators' abilities to broker the sort of compromises necessary to move legislation in a Senate with narrow margins.

Policy proposals in Congress will look similar to what we have seen in the 114th Congress. However, with less threat of a Presidential veto, some of the more conservative proposals, which were previously seen only as policy statements, will now evolve into real legislation.

Trump is expected to regulate at a slower pace than President Obama's Administration, which is often criticized for not valuing public comment, an established part of the regulatory process. However, he will likely continue the current administration's trend of using of executive actions to compensate, when Congress is unable to bring policy to fruition.

Key Races

At the time of this writing, President-Elect Trump is projected to win at least 289 to 218 electoral votes. The allocation of an additional 30 electoral votes are still being determined in MI, MN and NH. Compared to the 2012 election results, Trump will receive at least 83 more electoral votes than Mitt Romney.[1]

Both chambers of Congress are still under Republican majority. While Republicans lost seats in the House of Representatives, Democrats were unable to pick up enough seats to give them the 218 seats required for a majority. In the 114th Congress, Republicans held a 60-seat House majority and an eight-seat majority in the Senate.[2] In the 115th Congress, Republicans will hold at least a 44-seat majority in the House and at least a 1-seat Senate lead.[3]

Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rob Portman (R-OH) Richard Burr (R-NC), Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Ron Johnson (R-WI), each in highly competitive races, all successfully retained their Senate seats.

Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) lost his bid for reelection. Illinois' newest Senator is current Congresswoman and disabled veteran Tammy Duckworth (D-IL-08). Raja Krishnamoorthi (D) easily won the race to replace Senator-Elect Duckworth in Congress.

After five terms in the Senate, Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will retire at the end of this year. Former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Mastro defeated current Congressman Joe Heck (R-NV). Computer programmer and consultant and president of the Congregation Ner Tamid, Jacky Rosen will succeed Congressman Heck in the House.

Indiana Senator Dan Coats (R-IN) will retire at the end of this year after serving two full terms in the Senate. Current Congressman Todd Young (R-IN) defeated former Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) to replace Coats. Businessman Trey Hollingsworth (R) will succeed Senator-Elect Todd Young in the House.

The narrow majority will require Senate Republicans to seek support from their Democrat colleagues on policy matters, more so than in the 114th Congress. Additionally, Democrats' ability to filibuster will be strengthened. With such a narrow division between the parties, the temperament of the Senate will determine the level of productivity for Congress over the next two years.

On the Issues

Cybersecurity

After an election riddled with cybersecurity concerns – from the release of Democratic National Committee emails to cyberattacks on polling places to Wikileaks – President-Elect Trump will have to address the issue. He has indicated he will create a Cyber Review Team composed of military, law enforcement and private sector persons to review the country's cyber defenses and vulnerabilities and make recommendations to safeguard against attacks. To fight the cyber-war Trump will work directly with Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) and House Government and Oversight Subcommittee on Information Technology Chairman Will Hurd (R-TX). To successfully tackle cybersecurity issues, Trump will need to balance the constitutional right to privacy with the need to protect the country from both criminal hackers and state-sponsored cyber attacks.

Education

As President, Donald Trump will seek to reallocate existing federal money to invest $20 billion toward school choice. Trump will urge the states collectively to contribute another $110 billion. Together with the federal investment, every K-12 student currently living in poverty will have $12,000 in school choice funds. President-Elect Trump has expressed his desire to see the cost of college lowered and student debt become a federal tax break. To achieve this Trump will have to work with the House Education and Workforce Committee, which is likely to be chaired by Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which is likely to remain Chaired by Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Senator Alexander was the lead author of the "Every Student Succeeds Act," of which Foxx was a supporter. Foxx, however, has been critical of the regulations created from the act. Alexander is also skeptical of the regulations but remains hopeful that the act is supported in its tenure by those who supported its passage.

Energy & Environment

President-Elect Trump adamantly advocated for U.S. energy independence during his campaign. In order to achieve this, he said he will expand the use of shale, oil and natural gas reserves and clean coal reserves. Trump also said he will open onshore and offshore leasing on federal lands. The House Energy and Commerce Committee will have a new Chairman with whom President-Elect Trump will work with, while Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) is likely to maintain the gavel for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee. The two committees, together with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), will work with President-Elect Trump to reform the tax code to allow for more investments in our country.

Health Care

President-Elect Trump stated many times on the campaign trail that he will work with Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with robust Health Savings Accounts. He will also modify the tax code to allow individuals to deduct their insurance premiums, as businesses do currently. President-Elect Trump will have to work directly with the new House Energy and Commerce Chairman; House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX); Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN); Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT); and Congress, which will be divided by chambers in support of President-Elect and the means of achieving his goals.

Immigration

From the start of his campaign, Trump stated he would have Mexico pay for a wall to be built on the border it shares with the United States. He was also clear that he will have anyone deported who entered the country illegally. Both moves are staunch differences from President Obama's immigration stance, including his executive actions: the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA). Under these measures, parents and children may receive temporary permission to remain in the country under a "deferred action." The Supreme Court divided evenly in United States v. Texas when deciding if President Obama's executive order on DAPA and DACA expansion were legal, shedding light on the political division on the issue. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) have been vocal opponents of the DAPA and DACA executive orders. Trump should experience House support moving forward with his sweeping immigration changes.

National Security

As President, Donald Trump will seek to increase the size and power of the armed forces, as well as modernize existing systems to ensure enhanced capabilities to protect and fight. Additionally, he will work with generals to develop a plan to defeat and destroy ISIS. It is likely that President-Elect Trump, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) will agree on the execution of Trump's goals.

Trade

President-Elect Trump stated his clear opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during his campaign. His plan on trade will also renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the goal of ensuring it is good for American workers. Additionally, Trump plans on directing his Secretaries of Commerce and Treasury to identify countries that are violating existing trade agreements as well as note countries that are currency manipulators. Congress is divided in its support for trade agreements, making the prospect of the TPP, NAFTA, or any trade agreements for that matter, an uphill battle.

Tax Reform

Over the past few years, Congress exhausted all available fiscal tools to maintain the status quo, making comprehensive tax reform a major priority for both Congressional Democrats and Republicans during Trump's tenure. While campaigning, Trump stated that as President, he will ensure all income brackets receive a tax cut and low-income Americans pay no income tax. He indicated he would reform the system to eliminate special interest loopholes and make the tax rate competitive to keep jobs in the country as well as boost opportunities for new job creation. Earlier this year, House Republicans introduced the "Better Way Plan," which is the House GOP version of comprehensive tax reform. Since the Constitution requires all tax legislation originate in the House, expect the initial bill to be heavily influenced by the fiscally conservative Freedom Caucus.

Transportation & Infrastructure

Within the first few months of taking office, Trump wants to introduce a plan to revitalize the transportation and infrastructure of the country by pursuing an "America's Infrastructure First" policy. This policy will focus investments in transportation, clean water, modern electricity grid, telecommunications and other needs. Additionally, Trump will develop a long-term water infrastructure plan with all levels of government to ensure the older systems are updated and capable of meeting the country's needs safely. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) are likely to work proactively with President-Elect Trump on developing and modernizing the transportation and infrastructure needs of the country.

Footnotes

[1] At the time of distribution, there were still three states to be called.

[2] Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Angus King (I-ME) caucus with the Democrats.

[3] At the time of distribution, there were still 11 races to be called, including a runoff in Louisiana.

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