The House of Representatives in the United States is now controlled by the Democrats. The Senate remains in the control of the Republicans.
The Democrats and Republicans are two political parties in the United States (groups of people with very different ideas about how the country should be run). US President Donald Trump is a Republican.
On Nov. 6, the United States had a big election, called the “mid-term” elections. Americans voted for who they wanted to represent them in two main branches of their government: the House of Representatives (known as “the House”) and the Senate. Together, the House and the Senate are known as “Congress.” (Americans in some areas also had the opportunity to vote for other positions, and about certain issues, during the mid-terms.)
Going into the election, both the Senate and the House had more Republican representatives than Democrats. In other words, both the House and the Senate were controlled by the Republicans. That meant that when President Trump made a decision about something, he could fairly easily get it made into a law because most of the people deciding on the issue were Republicans and would likely vote the way the president wanted.
Last week, more Democrats (235) than Republicans (193) were elected to the House. So in the case of a vote, the Democrats (if they all voted the same way) would win.
That could make it harder for new laws to get made.
In the US, new laws begin as “bills.” Anyone from the House or the Senate can propose a bill. After much discussion about the bill, both the Senate and the House vote on whether they want the bill to become a law. If both the Senate and the House vote for the bill, it will likely become a law. (This is a simplified explanation and there are some exceptions.)
Something else interesting happened during the mid-term elections. Americans elected more women than ever before to Congress. In Massachusetts, the first woman of colour, Ayanna Pressley, was elected to Congress. And Deb Haaland (New Mexico) and Sharice Davids (Kansas) became the first Native American women elected to Congress.
Americans also elected a more diverse group of people to Congress, including the first open gay man elected governor (Jared Polis in Colorado) and the first Muslim women (Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar in Minnesota).
The official website of the US government has an excellent explanation of how a bill becomes a law. https://www.usa.gov/how-laws-are-made
This article from the New York Times talks about the women elected to Congress in the 2018 mid-terms. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/06/us/politics/women-midterms-historic.html
An article on CNN Politics about the diversity of the winners in the 2018 mid-term elections. https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/07/politics/historic-firsts-midterms/index.html
By Kathleen Tilly
What do you think the outcome of this recent election means for President Donald Trump? How will this impact the next couple of years before the presidential election?
Reading Prompt: Responding and Evaluating Texts
In this election, a more diverse group of people were elected. Is it a surprise to you that some of the people who were elected (e.g. the Muslim women, the first openly elected gay governor, the first woman of colour etc.) were the FIRST? Why or why not?
Make judgments and draw conclusions about the ideas and information in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their views (OME, Reading: 1.8).
Evaluate the effectiveness of both simple and complex texts based on evidence from the texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).
Language Feature: Proper and common nouns
In this article, the word ‘president’ is written as a proper noun with a capital letter and as a common noun with a lower case ‘p’. Why is ‘president’ written in two different ways? Can you explain?