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Jan. 15, 2022, 2:35 p.m. EST

‘Severe struggle’ over federal debt limit and moves to impeach Biden: What could happen in a Republican Congress

Robert Schroeder

Get ready for debt-limit drama and moves to impeach President Joe Biden if Republicans rout Democrats in November’s midterm elections.

With Democrats facing what one analyst calls an “incredibly hostile environment for the midterms,” observers see Republicans as a clear favorite to win the House of Representatives and in a good position to capture the Senate as well.

Republican control of one or both chambers of Congress would usher in major policy changes spanning from fiscal policy to Biden’s appointees, Eurasia Group analysts wrote in a note this week.

“If Republicans control the House, expect multiple investigations into the Biden administration, a severe struggle over government funding and the debt limit, and potential passage of articles of impeachment against President Biden,” the analysts wrote.

Read: Ted Cruz says there’s a ‘chance’ a Republican House could try to impeach Biden

Congress last raised the debt limit in December, by enough to stave off default until after the midterm elections. Just one House Republican — Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — voted for the increase. No Senate Republicans backed it.

See: Congress approves $2.5 trillion debt-limit increase

“If Republicans take the Senate,” the Eurasia analysts continued, “Biden will be forced to choose only the mildest and [most] moderate appointees to staff cabinet agencies, many slots will go unfilled or filled on an acting basis, few if any judges will be confirmed, and potential vacancies at the Supreme Court are likely to remain open.”

Chris Krueger of Cowen Washington Research Group similarly predicted: “GOP control likely means fiscal drag & shutdown/debt ceiling fights.”

And he sees the Democrats at a distinct disadvantage heading into November. “Between House retirements and redistricting — to say nothing of the winds of history blowing directly in their face — the Democrats are facing an incredibly hostile environment for the midterms,” he wrote in a note on Thursday.

In comments to the Hill in late December, New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said: “I think our chances are great. We just need to do good things and tell people about it.”

“I’ve been clear that we need to do a better job of messaging,” he said, “and I think you’ll see us do that.”

Democrats can highlight legislative accomplishments including the nearly $2 trillion American Rescue Plan, for which no Republicans voted, and the $1 trillion infrastructure (BATS:PAVE) law, which got a handful of GOP support.

See: Here are Democrats’ options for changing the filibuster as Biden presses case for voting-rights bills

Biden’s so-called Build Back Better social-spending and climate initiative, meanwhile, is stalled in Congress as Senate Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona remain holdouts. A push to bolster voting rights is also reeling, as Sinema repeated Thursday that she wouldn’t support a weakening of the Senate filibuster .

The Eurasia analysts put the likelihood of a Republican takeover of the House at 90%, and gave the GOP a 65% chance of winning the Senate.

Opinion:  Generous child-care benefits won’t save Biden’s Democrats in November

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