Republicans have complete control of United States Congress for the first time since 2006. This doesn’t mean that conservative laws will get passed any time soon. Republicans don’t have enough votes in the Senate to pass anything on their own. Even if they did pass something, President Obama would veto it right away.
But do not despair -- there are still some major benefits to being in charge. For the first time ever, Obama will have to actually defend his policies and reckon with a real Republican agenda.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's immediate priority will be authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline, an issue that nearly three out of four Americans support but that Obama has avoided like the plague. If Congress is able to pass this bill, the President will be under pressure to finally make a decision on the issue.
In an appearance yesterday on “Meet The Press,” Sen. John Barasso (R-WY) said about the pipeline: “It is going to be a bellwether decision by the president whether to go with jobs and the economy. He's going to have to decide between jobs and the extreme supporters of not having the pipeline.”
Republicans also intend to begin reforming Obamacare, first by addressing the law’s ridiculous definition of a full time work week as being just 30 hours. Passing this bill will force President Obama to publicly state whether he honestly supports this definition and the institutionalized laziness that it implies.
While these aren’t the sweeping reforms that most of us would like to see, at least they will force the President to do something he hates: actually defend his own positions.