Josiah Ryan
November 3, 2008

Americans can expect to see major changes “in issue after issue” in the Senate next year, said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, at a meeting with reporters near the Capitol on Oct. 29.

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, also warned that if Democrats gain a 60-seat filibuster-proof majority in the Senate – a scenario that both Ensign and Schumer have said is possible – Americans could see changes in “very, very, important issues,” such as energy policy, taxation and federal spending.

“I am really looking forward to the next session of Congress, because I think it’s going to be a groundbreaking session, and you are going to see significant change,” Schumer told reporters. “As a legislator – and I have been a legislator for 34 years – I can’t think of a time that I have been more excited at the prospect of change.”

When a reporter asked Schumer what kind of changes the Senate would make if Democrats gained a filibuster-proof majority, he said it would include countless issues.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

“It’s issue after issue,” said Schumer. “I think we will have a better policy on Iraq. I think we will have a better policy on energy. I think we will have a better policy on immigration. I think we will have a better policy on education. I think we will have a better policy on health care. It’s a huge list.”

In a speech at the National Press Club on Oct. 11, Ensign also warned that a Democratic filibuster-proof majority would affect “very, very, important issues,” such as oil drilling, higher taxes and more federal spending.

A campaign commercial run by the National Republican Senatorial Committee for Halloween claims that much of the GOP’s agenda could depend on the number of Democratic seats that are captured in the Senate.

“No checks, no balances,” says the commercial’s narrator. “All they need is 60 senators to eliminate the worker’s secret ballot, to slash our military, to raise taxes in a recession and take our country sharply to the left.”

“A liberal agenda is so scary its effects will be felt for a generation unless you stop them now,” the commercial says.

But Schumer said that the Republicans’ appeal for a divided government is just a ploy to block political progress.

“Divided government is their [Republicans] code word for continued obstruction,” said Schumer. “If you’re a hard-right person, you want obstruction because you know change is coming.”

If Democrats gain a filibuster-proof Senate, it would be the first time since the 95th Congress in 1977, when Democrats held 61 seats in the Senate, 292 seats in the House, and had President Jimmy Carter (D) in the White House.

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