With a big, aggressive agenda in the works as soon as Mr. Obama is inaugurated, congressional observers expect all this inside knowledge of Capitol Hill – enhanced by Rep. Rahm Emanuel’s soon-to-be role as White House chief of staff – will help pave the way to get legislation passed. Another House member, Rep. Hilda Solis (D) of California, is expected to get the Labor secretary job.
“They’ll have a lot of intel in the White House about what the feeling is up here,” says a Senate staffer. “So it probably redounds to both institutions to have this much cross-pollination.”
Under one-party Democratic rule, the administration will for the most part set the agenda, but Congress will be needed to pass the legislation. In the House, where the Democratic majority will be larger come January, the rules make it easier than in the Senate for the majority to dominate. In the Senate, 60 votes out of 100 are required to halt debate, and the Democrats fell short of that total.
Not that holding 60 seats would have guaranteed anything for the Democrats, in any event, as some senators regularly don’t move in lock step with their caucus.