by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
[I]n 2020, the control of the House may be well near irrelevant.
Over time, the House has had one major constitutional duty: the budget. All spending and taxation bills must originate in the House. But in all likelihood, the decline of the House started in 1995, when the newly elected Republican Congress under Newt Gingrich caved in to media pressure to give Bill Clinton his bloated budget. Since then, no House has even attempted to control the deficits or the debt. For eight years under George W. Bush, the rationale was to fund the War on Terror. Then, under Barack Obama, the Democrat House had no intention of dealing with the deficits or the debt. For eight years, under both Democrats and Republicans, nothing was done to recapture the budget process. Continuing resolutions were the rule of the day.
Enter Nancy Pelosi, whose Congress openly and energetically vowed to do utterly nothing in the way of actual legislation, but instead to investigate and otherwise obstruct President Donald Trump. This marked the final transition of the House into irrelevance.
Meanwhile, Trump marched through his presidency like Sherman through Georgia, canceling bad trade deals, negotiating new ones, imposing tariffs, and most recently building the wall. …
… And the House had nothing whatsoever to do with it. It would be possible for a Democrat House to pass a budget that would not be anything close to what the Senate would pass — then fight it out in reconciliation — and see a Trump-unfriendly budget get vetoed. Even if the Republicans lose a few more seats in 2020, they won’t have a veto-proof majority. The House cannot override a Trump veto.