Well it sure looks as if the gridlock between Congress and the White House is set to remain in place as the results start coming in from the US mid-term elections. According to early polling the Republican party were now only three seats away from seizing control of the Senate and CNN has been projecting that they will also maintain a majority in the House of Representatives.
The writing was on the wall for Democrats early on when the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to dispatch his challenger in Kentucky, Alison Lundergan Grimes who went to great lengths to distance herself from the Obama White House. Like many other contenders Grimes was always facing an uphill battle with many across the electorate seeming to be oblivious to the fact that the House and the Senate were considered to be obstructive in the last few years.
With many States yet to report or still processing results its beginning to look more convincing for the Republicans as the hours tick by. Perhaps the more interesting race is in Florida where Democratic candidate for the Governorship was denied a last minute request to extend voting in one county because of a break down in the systems in voting booths. He may be right to be a little miffed if he loses to his Republican competitor and incumbent where the split of votes (as at 1.44PM AEST) was 48 to 47%.
Meanwhile in Dakota it looks like Iraq Veteran Tom Cotton has prevailed over incumbent Democrat Senator Mark Pryor whereas Shelley Moore Capito knocked of her Democratic contender to take the seat held by them for nearly 30 years.
Probable incoming Majority Leader McConnell said in his victory speech "For too long, this administration has tried to tell the American people what is good for them and then blame somebody else when their policies didn't work out,"
The reality is that the US economy is at a critical juncture given the focus on job creation and the cutting of red tape to support business investment growth. This sort of reality should not be lost on either side of politics because while the bigger ticket policy items of Medicare and Defence are always important so too is the need to grow the economy. For that we need to look at McConnell’s own voting record since 2000 and what it shows is a mix of spending reductions but not neccesarily stimulus support:
Supports sequester cuts: 2.4% out of $3.6 trillion budget. (Mar 2013)
Voted NO on $192B additional anti-recession stimulus spending. (Jul 2009)
Voted YES on modifying bankruptcy rules to avoid mortgage foreclosures. (May 2009)
Voted NO on additional $825 billion for economic recovery package. (Feb 2009)
Voted NO on $60B stimulus package for jobs, infrastructure, & energy. (Sep 2008)
Voted YES on paying down federal debt by rating programs' effectiveness. (Mar 2007)
Voted YES on $40B in reduced federal overall spending. (Dec 2005)
Voted YES on prioritizing national debt reduction below tax cuts. (Apr 2000)
Voted YES on 1998 GOP budget. (May 1997)
Voted YES on Balanced-budget constitutional amendment. (Mar 1997)
Sponsored disapproving of increasing the debt limit. (Jan 2012)
Audit the Federal Reserve & its actions on mortgage loans. (Feb 2013)
Voted NO on repealing tax subsidy for companies which move US jobs offshore. (Mar 2005)
Voted YES on reforming bankruptcy to include means-testing & restrictions. (Mar 2005)
Voted YES on restricting rules on personal bankruptcy. (Jul 2001)
Rated 100% by the US COC, indicating a pro-business voting record. (Dec 2003)
Rated 14% by UFCW, indicating a pro-management voting record. (May 2012)
Comprehensive tax reform can work if it's revenue-neutral. (Jul 2013)
1977 AdWatch: Horse Sense understands when tax cuts are real. (Sep 2010)
Resolve to lower capital gains taxes. (Aug 2008)
Voted NO on increasing tax rate for people earning over $1 million. (Mar 2008)
Voted YES on allowing AMT reduction without budget offset. (Mar 2008)
Voted YES on raising the Death Tax exemption to $5M from $1M. (Feb 2008)
Voted YES on repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax. (Mar 2007)
Voted YES on raising estate tax exemption to $5 million. (Mar 2007)
Voted YES on supporting permanence of estate tax cuts. (Aug 2006)
Voted YES on permanently repealing the `death tax`. (Jun 2006)
Voted NO on $47B for military by repealing capital gains tax cut. (Feb 2006)
Voted YES on retaining reduced taxes on capital gains & dividends. (Feb 2006)
Voted YES on extending the tax cuts on capital gains and dividends. (Nov 2005)
Voted YES on $350 billion in tax breaks over 11 years. (May 2003)
Voted NO on reducing marriage penalty instead of cutting top tax rates. (May 2001)
Voted NO on increasing tax deductions for college tuition. (May 2001)
Voted YES on eliminating the 'marriage penalty'. (Jul 2000)
Voted YES on across-the-board spending cut. (Oct 1999)
Voted YES on requiring super-majority for raising taxes. (Apr 1998)
Rated 76% by NTU, indicating a "Taxpayer's Friend" on tax votes. (Dec 2003)
Rated 0% by the CTJ, indicating opposition to progressive taxation. (Dec 2006)
Taxpayer Protection Pledge: no new taxes. (Aug 2010)
Supports the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. (Jan 2012)
So, where to from here for small business, start-ups and entrepreneurs? It looks like it will be business as usual in Washington for some time to come with a President who is sure to be ham strung and a Mexican stand-off across the aisles.
The true test will come soon as the Presidential contenders begin to emerge and we see who’s policies will begin lining up with whom.
For the time being – its back to the game of two halves where some American’s still enjoy great wealth and others are part of an even wider growing gap of opportunity.
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