Why taking over the Senate may not do Republicans much good

If the Republicans do take the Senate, they won’t have a lot of time to savor the victory, because two years later they’re going to be the ones defending more seats (see Sean Trende’s analysis for more details). That makes it entirely possible, maybe even likely, that Republicans will have control of both houses for only two years, and after 2016 we’ll go back to the way things are now. So can they legislate during that time?

To a certain degree, the question is moot as long as Obama is president. Anything big and consequential on the Republican agenda would get vetoed. But you can accomplish a lot by thinking relatively small. The question is whether Republicans — or to be more specific, House Republicans — are capable of doing that.

I’ll point you to two articles written in the last couple of days. The first, by Dylan Scott in Talking Points Memo, discusses some of the ways Senate Republicans and the insurance industry are thinking about the possibility of a GOP Senate takeover. There’s a lot of discussion about some of the features of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that might be trimmed back. Could you cut or eliminate a tax on insurance policies? What about restoring cuts to Medicare Advantage? Might you introduce a lower-level “copper” plan to be sold on the exchanges, which would be less comprehensive than the gold, silver and bronze plans?