2014 Midterms Make Small Waves for Foreign Policy

Jeff Merkley, Jeanne Shaheen, Al Franken Win Re-election

The 2014 elections are over, and though we now know that the Republicans did take control of the Senate, any resulting policy changes in DC will not happen until January when the new Congress takes their seats. There has been a large amount of hype around this pending policy change, but what exactly are the policies that will change?

Yes, we know the Republicans would love to tear Obamacare to pieces, but we also know that’s never going to happen as long as President Obama is still in office. Like repealing the Affordable Care Act, Republicans may put many bills to a vote that are merely talking points, insofar that they would not be signed by President Obama.

For example, a Republican-controlled House and Senate is more likely to pass legislation to prohibit the US from paying its UN dues in full and funding UN initiatives. Nevertheless, we can be sure that Obama would veto such nonsense. Though not all Republicans vote for such irresponsible legislation, the more extremist ones unfortunately do. My recent analysis of Congress on global issues shows that foreign policy is absolutely under partisan sway. Additionally, Congressional candidates in midterm elections typically pander to their bases, which helps to create more extremist and partisan candidates.

For the millions of Americans that support US leadership in the United Nations and other global institutions, the new Senate majority passing harmful legislation should not be a concern any more or less than it was before. However, now that Senator McConnell (R-KY) – who earned an F on our Congressional Report Card – is Senate majority leader, the likelihood of several important treaties coming to a vote is much lower. Recently, McConnell and 37 other Republican Senators were all that stopped the Disability Treaty (CRPD) from being ratified. Making progress on other global issues such as climate change and international development aid is also less likely.

Yet there’s no reason to give up on the fight – there are many powerful globalist allies still on the Hill. Americans across the country have been demanding that the Congressional gridlock finally end. If Senators and Representatives alike respond to this overwhelming message and come together on more moderate terms, then there will be room to explain the benefits of the US cooperating with the UN, funding peacekeeping, and ratifying treaties like the Rights of the Child Treaty – to both Democrats and Republicans. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post do not necessarily reflect the official policy of Citizens for Global Solutions.

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