*They want to repeal the healthcare overhaul, pare back financial regulations, slash federal spending and curtail the reach of the Environmental Protection Agency. In essence, they want to challenge the agenda of the Obama administration at every turn.
The new GOP chairmen of key House committees such as Appropriations, Budget, Energy and Commerce, and Oversight and Government Reform believe they have a mandate to check the size and scope of government.
But their ability to achieve legislative success will be hampered by the divided Congress – Democrats still control the Senate, albeit with a smaller majority – and the threat of a presidential veto.
The result could be gridlock, but that may be the point, said Sarah Binder, an expert on congressional relations for the Brookings Institution, a liberal-leaning Washington think tank.
“So long as the House is able to pull itself together to vote for these strongly conservative positions, they benefit even if they fail,” she said.
Obama’s chief antagonist may be Rep. Darrell Issa (R- Vista), who will chair the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Issa has promised not to use the position to mount grandstanding investigations into political arcana, such as subpoenaing the president’s birth certificate, but will instead use his committee to try to uncover fraud and waste within the federal government.
Issa made it clear that Obama’s legislative accomplishments are a ripe target.
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