News / USA

GOP Has High Expectations as Americans Cast Votes in Elections

A voter returns his polling card after casting his ballot at a polling station in Queen Anne, Maryland, 02 Nov 2010
A voter returns his polling card after casting his ballot at a polling station in Queen Anne, Maryland, 02 Nov 2010


Americans are voting in midterm elections that could determine the fate of President Barack Obama's legislative agenda for the next two years.  Republicans are expected to make significant gains in the U.S. Congress.

At stake in nationwide balloting are all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, more than one-third of the Senate, and more than half of America's governorships.

President Obama had a simple election-eve message for voters: "You have got a chance to change your community and your country. All you have to do is vote."

After electoral cycles that saw Democrats win control of Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008, Republicans are widely expected to reverse the tide this year.

Watch Laurel Bowman's Companion TV Report:

Public-opinion polls show Republicans favored among likely voters, many of whom say they are angry and frustrated over the sluggish U.S. economy, high unemployment, and America's soaring national debt.

Although Republicans could seize both houses of Congress, it is the House of Representatives where they are thought to have the best chance of taking control.

Sarah Williams' Q&A with Jim Malone on impact of Midterm election:

A party switch in the House would end the four-year tenure of Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Her likely replacement would be House Republican Leader John Boehner, who has pledged to reverse what he sees as the free-spending ways of the Obama administration.

"If we [Republicans] are lucky enough to be in the majority and I am lucky enough to be the Speaker of the House, it is going to be real different [in Congress]," said Boehner.

Indiana Republican Congressman Mike Pence told CBS' Early Show that Americans are demanding a change of course.

"People are scared," he said. "They look at a second year in a row of more than a trillion-dollar [federal] deficit, of government bailouts, and a government takeover of healthcare. And I do not think today is going to be about the American people saying they want Washington to get more done. I think there is a lot they want to get undone in Washington, D.C. A change in direction."

But a key Obama ally, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, said the president is not to blame for America's economic woes, and suggested that voters should not try to punish Democrats at the ballot box.

"I think expectations were unreasonably high for Barack Obama," said Rendell. "He took over the presidency facing the worst set of problems - not of his own making - that any American president has faced in the last 50 years. The problems were created by the failed policies of the previous eight years, and he [Obama] cannot turn them around automatically."

President Obama has scheduled a news conference for Wednesday, presumably to discuss the election results and how he plans to deal with a Congress that could have a radically-different composition beginning next year.

The last time Republicans took control of Congress was in 1994 - two years into the presidency of Bill Clinton. The next year saw a budget battle between the White House and Congress that produced a temporary shutdown of the federal government. But in subsequent years, President Clinton worked effectively with a Republican Congress on several major initiatives, including an overhaul of U.S. social welfare programs.

Republicans are pledging to halt President Obama's signature legislative accomplishment: a restructuring of America's private health insurance system.  Some Republicans vying for congressional seats belong to the so-called "Tea Party" movement that sprung up after Mr. Obama entered office.  As a group, Tea Partiers profess a determination to cut government spending, and have rejected the possibility of compromise on fiscal issues.

You May Like

Photogallery Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

UN Warns Air Pollution in Asia Pacific Has Rising Cost

Globally some seven million people a year die prematurely due to indoor and outdoor pollution with about 70 per cent of those deaths in region

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs