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2014 Midterm Election Results and Impact

The Republican Party has gained control of the Senate and expanded its majority in the House of Representatives following Tuesday’s midterm elections.

Republican candidates won at least 10 of the 13 tight Senate races, taking seats held by Democrats in Iowa, Colorado, Arkansas, Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia and North Carolina. While elections in Virginia, Louisiana and Alaska are too close to call, Republicans have secured the Senate majority with 52 members. Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky is in line to be the next Senate Majority Leader.

In addition, Republicans won at least 13 more seats in the House, adding to their majority and greatly exceeding projected expectations. House Republicans will have close to 245 seats, the largest Republican majority since the Truman era. 

Ten House races still remain too close to call. Louisiana won't know which candidate will represent the state in the Senate until December 6, when Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) will face Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) in a runoff election.

The change in the congressional balance of power in the Senate will result in considerable changes to committee leadership and membership since the majority party holds more seats on each committee and adjustments will be made to add Republican members and eliminate some current Democrat slots. However, the committee ratios of Republicans to Democrats will not be determined until later in the month.

Congress is scheduled to return for a lame duck session on November 12 for two weeks and then again from December 1-12. Lame duck is the period of time after national elections and before the next Congress is sworn into session. It remains to be seen how much legislative work will be accomplished during this time beyond addressing the continuing resolution (CR), a stop-gap funding measure that expires on December 11. Without congressional action to address the ongoing fiscal year 2015 appropriations, the federal government would face a shutdown.

Ebola funding is expected to be a main issue for the lame duck Congress. Other items on to-do list include renewing the tax extenders package and extending the research and development tax credit. Supporters of the state-administered Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have expressed interest in attempting to use the lame duck period to secure a clean four-year funding extension for the program, in order to assist states already planning their 2015 budgets. Republican leaders are not in a hurry to act on this issue, however, as the program does not expire until September 2015. House Republicans are in the process of collecting information about how to improve the program before extending it for another four years.