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Republicans vow to reduce size of government

 Connecticut Attorney General and Democratic candidate for the Senate Richard Blumenthal, right, is handed his identification back from a poll worker ...
 U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., with husband Jonathan, right, and sons Theo, front, and Henry, arrives to vote at the Becraft Pumper Company in...
 Delaware Republican U.S. Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell waves from inside a vehicle after voting, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010, in Wilmington, Del. O'...
 South Dakota Republican Congressional candidate Kristi Noem hugs Judy Gulbraa after voting Tuesday Nov. 2, 2010 in Hazel, S.D. Noem is running agains...
 Republican Marco Rubio, left,  stands on the stage with his mother Oria Rubio, right, after winning his Senate bid Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 in Coral Gab...
 Sen.-elect Rand Paul. R-Ky., and his wife Kelley arrive at his victory celebration in Bowling Green, Ky., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010.  (AP Photo/Ed Reinke...
 Graphic shows results of gubernatorial races and who will control governors��� offices nationwide
 Sen.-elect Marco Rubio, R-Fla. thanks supporters in Coral Gables, Fla. after winning his senate bid Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
 With tears in his eyes, House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio celebrates the GOP's victory that changes the balance of power in Congress and w...
 Ohio Gov.-elect John Kasich celebrates a victory during the Ohio Republican Party celebration, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/...
 House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio celebrates the GOP's victory that changes the balance of power in Congress and will likely elevate him t...
 Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks during the Nevada State Democratic election night party after defeating Sharron Angle to win re-election, Tuesday, No...
 Indiana Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate Dan Coats prepare to mark his ballot in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010.  (AP Photo/Darron Cummi...
 The Capitol in Washington is seen at sunrise the morning after the midterm elections, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
 House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio, right, joined by House GOP Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., talks about the changes in the balance of power in ...

Conneticut Senate

Connecticut Attorney General and Democratic candidate for the Senate Richard Blumenthal, right, is handed his identification back from a poll worker ...

New York Senate

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., with husband Jonathan, right, and sons Theo, front, and Henry, arrives to vote at the Becraft Pumper Company in...

APTOPIX Delaware Senate

Delaware Republican U.S. Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell waves from inside a vehicle after voting, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010, in Wilmington, Del. O'...

South Dakota Congress

South Dakota Republican Congressional candidate Kristi Noem hugs Judy Gulbraa after voting Tuesday Nov. 2, 2010 in Hazel, S.D. Noem is running agains...

Florida Senate

Republican Marco Rubio, left, stands on the stage with his mother Oria Rubio, right, after winning his Senate bid Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 in Coral Gab...

APTOPIX Kentucky Senate

Sen.-elect Rand Paul. R-Ky., and his wife Kelley arrive at his victory celebration in Bowling Green, Ky., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke...

US GOVERNORS

Graphic shows results of gubernatorial races and who will control governors��� offices nationwide

Florida Senate

Sen.-elect Marco Rubio, R-Fla. thanks supporters in Coral Gables, Fla. after winning his senate bid Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Congress Republicans Boehner

With tears in his eyes, House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio celebrates the GOP's victory that changes the balance of power in Congress and w...

Ohio Governor

Ohio Gov.-elect John Kasich celebrates a victory during the Ohio Republican Party celebration, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/...

APTOPIX Congress Republicans Boehner

House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio celebrates the GOP's victory that changes the balance of power in Congress and will likely elevate him t...

APTOPIX Nevada Senate

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks during the Nevada State Democratic election night party after defeating Sharron Angle to win re-election, Tuesday, No...

Indiana Senate

Indiana Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate Dan Coats prepare to mark his ballot in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Darron Cummi...

US Elections

The Capitol in Washington is seen at sunrise the morning after the midterm elections, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Congress Republicans Boehner

House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio, right, joined by House GOP Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., talks about the changes in the balance of power in ...

Republican leaders Wednesday vowed to roll back the size of government a day after taking over the House of Representatives and making gains in the Senate in what President Barack Obama called a "shellacking."
At the center of the upheaval, Obama said, was his inability to move more quickly to create jobs for Americans who are living through a prolonged period of near-10 percent unemployment and deep economic anxiety.
Emboldened by the commanding House majority and the Senate gains, Rep. John Boehner, the House leader-in-waiting, vowed to shrink the size of government and eventually the nation's sweeping health care law.
"Change course we will," said Boehner, describing the outcome as a clear mandate. That echoed the unrelenting demand of tea party activists whose energy and votes helped to fuel the largest turnover in the House in more than 70 years.
The president said that his administration had made significant headway in pulling the economy out of its deepest downturn in decades, but conceded that "clearly too many people haven't felt that progress."
"If Republicans have some ideas" for cutting costs of health care or making other changes in the bill, he said he would be glad to take a look.
"There are going to be some examples of where we can tweak and make progress," he said, but predicted the Republicans would hesitate before taking away major benefits provided in the law.
Boehner, who is destined to become the House leader in January, argued to the contrary. He declared the party had a mandate to roll back the reforms, calling them "a monstrosity."
While Obama said he was willing to entertain Republican ideas to make the legislation better, political realities will make a repeal of the law nearly impossible. The Democrats still control the Senate and would not entertain such a move. What's more, Obama also still holds his veto power, and the Republicans do not have sufficient numbers to override.
Boehner pledged that Republicans will use their new House majority to seek a "smaller, less costly, and more accountable government." He said he hoped Obama would join them.
"We hope he is willing to work with us on these priorities. But as I have said, our new majority will be the voice of the American people as they expressed it so clearly yesterday," Boehner said at a late morning news conference.
The elections also were the biggest test yet of the two-year-old ultraconservative tea party movement that was fueled by what it saw as voter anger over the excessive growth of government. It produced a crop of Republican candidates often at odds with the party establishment, and some of them won key races.
For the Republican Party, there was no historical precedent to guide them in their dealings with these new tea party-backed members of Congress, who were likely to demand radically conservative legislative solutions to the country's problems.
Incomplete returns showed the Republican Party picked up at least 60 House seats and led for four more, far in excess of what was needed for a majority. About two dozen races remained too close to call. The Republicans' victory eclipsed the 54-seat pickup by the so-called "revolution" that retook the House in 1994 for the first time in 40 years and the 56-seat Republican gain in 1946.
On their night of triumph, Republicans gained at least six Senate seats _ among them were tea party favorites Rand Paul in Kentucky, Mike Lee in Utah and Marco Rubio in Florida.
All 435 seats in the House were on Tuesday's ballot, plus 37 in the Senate. Also, 37 states chose governors.
In the Senate, Republicans won at least six seats now held by Democrats. Among them was Obama's old seat in Illinois, captured by a congressman, Rep. Mark Kirk.
Democrats did win one of the most-closely watched races, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid defeating Sharron Angle, a favorite of the tea party movement. Democrats also retained seats targeted by Republicans in West Virginia and California, where liberal incumbent Barbara Boxer defeated former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina.
Republicans needed to gain 10 seats to take control of the 100-member Senate. As of early Wednesday, Democrats had 51 seats, including two independents, to 46 for Republicans. Three races were not yet decided _ in Alaska, Colorado and Washington state.
Among the Senate races yet to be called was one in Alaska, where Joe Miller, a candidate supported by the tea party and former Gov. Sarah Palin, faces a strong write-in challenge from the incumbent he defeated in the Republican primary, Lisa Murkowski. Democrat Scott McAdams is trailing in third place. The two other races, in Washington state and Colorado, remain too close to call.
Although international affairs had little role in the campaign, Obama's global agenda also would be affected in areas such as arms control and climate change.
Besides the congressional vote, Republicans were making gains in the 37 governors' races at stake Tuesday, capturing at least 11 governorships from Democrats and several state legislatures. Democrats gained four Republican-held governorships _ in California, Connecticut, Vermont and Hawaii. The vote count continued in three governors' races that were too close to call.
The new Congress will begin its session in January. Later this month, the current members, including those voted out of office, will go back to work to finish out their terms in what is known as a lame duck session.
While the newly empowered Republicans will likely want to delay major issues until the new Congress is seated, there are many important measures that are still pending, such as tax cuts set to expire this year and a proposal to reverse the military's ban on openly gay servicemembers.
One big foreign policy issue that is pending is the new START treaty signed by Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in April. It calls for big cuts in nuclear arms and would replace a similar treaty that expired last year. The Senate must ratify the treaty with 67 votes. The Russians have said ratification is a key to the success of Obama's desire to reset relations with Moscow, which deteriorated badly under former President George W. Bush.


Updated : 2020-12-01 11:20 GMT+08:00