By Ken Perez, vice president of healthcare policy and government affairs, Omnicell, Inc.
Although it took eight days for most of the dust to settle after the 2022 midterm elections, it is now clear that the following conclusions can be drawn:
- The widely predicted “red wave,” in which Republicans were to take back both the House and the Senate, did not materialize.
- The Democrats have at least 50 seats in the Senate, and thus will retain the majority in that chamber, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tiebreaker.
- The Republicans have taken back the House, though with a very slim margin.
Given the Republican majority in the House, the U.S. will have a divided government for the next two years. A divided government describes a situation in which one party controls the White House (the executive branch), while another party controls one or both chambers of Congress (the legislative branch).
In recent decades, a divided government has become quite common. The U.S. has had a divided government in 20 of the 32 years since 1990.
What’s good and what’s bad about divided government?
Those in favor of divided government contend that it encourages more policing of those in power by the opposition, and it limits spending and the proliferation of undesirable laws. Conversely, critics of divided government argue that it often results in gridlock.
What does the future hold with this latest occurrence of divided government?
In the wake of the 2022 midterm elections, business publisher Kiplinger stated, “After the midterms, expect gridlock to reign on Capitol Hill. A bitterly divided Congress will fight over everything. Plus, a GOP House will be eager to launch investigations.” Investment management company T. Rowe Price predicted, “With Republicans expected to take control of the House of Representatives and Democrats securing control of the Senate in the midterm elections, we anticipate limited legislative achievement in the next Congress.”