The record number of Republicans leaving Congress not only raises questions about control of the House of Representatives after November’s elections but the fate of such issues as the sanctity of human life and religious freedom.
When Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, 48, announced April 11 he would retire at the end of this term, his decision brought to 38 the number of GOP members who have said they will not run for re-election, according to the Pew Research Center. The Senate’s April 19 confirmation of Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma increases that total to 39. More Republicans could still announce their retirements. In addition, the seats of two other GOP members who resigned this term will be filled by special election before November, Pew reported.
The total of voluntary House Republican departures surpasses all others recorded by Vital Statistics of Congress since 1930, according to Pew.
Meanwhile, 17 Democrats have announced they will not run for re-election, Pew reported.
As a result, Republicans find themselves defending more than twice as many open seats as Democrats in a House where the GOP holds a 236-193 advantage, with six vacancies.
In the Senate, Republicans hold a 51-47 edge over Democrats, but two independents caucus with the minority party. The Democrats are faced with defending 26 of the 35 seats contested this year, but four GOP members have resigned or announced their retirements while only one Democrat has left office.
In addition, the Democratic Party also holds an advantage in congressional polling. The Real Clear Politics average of seven generic polls between April 6 and 17 favored Democrats by 5.5 points.
The parties’ platform planks — and their legislative results to a lesser extent — have long reflected a sharp divide on abortion and other sanctity of life issues. Democratic control of the House or both chambers would appear to be devastating for congressional efforts to protect unborn children and the conscience rights of health-care professionals who oppose abortion.
On religious freedom, Republicans have led the way in seeking to protect the United States’ first liberty and extend that freedom to other countries. Democrats, meanwhile, have increasingly favored sexual liberty over religious liberty in the showdown over same-sex marriage and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.
Click here to read more.
Source: Baptist Press