I asked some top Congressional Democrats what they can do to check Donald Trump and the Republican House and Senate majorities. The answer: prayer.
OK, that was a joke. Sort of. With a 23-seat majority in the House, Republicans can push through most measures without support from any Democrats. In the Senate, Republicans can confirm executive branch and judicial nominees, except for the Supreme Court, with a simple majority; they hold a 52-to-48 advantage. Through a shortcut in the budget process called reconciliation, they can pass important spending and tax measures.
Still, congressional Democrats, especially in the Senate, have some weapons. They include:
- Divide and try to conquer
There are potential schisms to exploit between congressional leaders and the president. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, is a principled ideological conservative with some fringe right-wingers in his caucus. Trump believes in Trump.