If Democrats were to expand their House majority and gain control of the Senate, along with winning the White House, a number of pro-abortion and pro-LGBT policies were expected to be considered. With a clear Democratic majority, the Senate would possibly be able to abolish the filibuster, requiring only a 50-vote majority to pass legislation. The chamber would also be able to move to expand the Supreme Court and negate any perceived Republican advantage there.
Now, with a more competitive House and a possible Republican Senate, that landscape may be altered. Speaker Pelosi and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had both promised to repeal the Hyde Amendment and allow for taxpayer funding of elective abortions, but that measure might be much harder to pass through a Republican Senate.
Other more-controversial measures such as court-packing might now be dead-on-arrival, said National Review senior editor Rammesh Ponnuru on EWTN Pro-Life Weekly.
Pro-lifers, he said, "will be in striking distance" of a House majority and could obtain it by 2022.
Tuesday's results also foreshadow a possible fight amongst House Democrats over policy priorities and messaging for the next two years-as well as a potential challenge to Speaker Pelosi's leadership.
In a call with fellow House Democrats on Thursday, Pelosi reportedly insisted that Democrats had won and were given a "mandate" by voters. "We didn't win every battle, but we won the war," she said.
However, some Democrats on the call emphasized that the party must moderate its message. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) who represents a suburban district rated R+6 by the Cook Report and who is projected to survive her first re-election battle, insisted that the party change its tone especially on emphasizing issues such as "socialism" and "defund the police."
Other young progressive congresswomen, however, said that the party need not abandon liberal priorities such as Medicare-for-All and the Green New Deal. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted on Friday that liberal policies were not the problem for Democrats.
Thursday's call-and the ensuing debate-is a snapshot of a possible conflict among House Democrats in the next two years.
The issue of abortion is wrapped up in this fight. Proposals for Medicare-for-All would cover elective abortions in taxpayer-funded plans. Progressive House Democrats such as Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) have led efforts in recent years to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which bars taxpayer funding of elective abortions in health care appropriations bills.
The Equality Act, which the House passed in 2019, would set up sexual orientation and gender identity as protected legal classes; critics have said that the bill would infringe on the religious freedom of individuals and groups opposed to the LGBT agenda, and could possibly force health care workers to participate in abortions.
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Other House races in doubt on Friday include heavily-Catholic districts in New York. Republicans could gain the state's first and third districts on Long Island and Staten Island, while Catholic Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.) could survive a challenge in his district on Long Island's north shore. Suozzi has had an 100% rating from the pro-abortion group NARAL in the most recent Congress.
Suozzi helped bring Bishop Robert Barron to Capitol Hill last year to speak to legislators. He called Barron "a remarkable man who has inspired me and my wife and my family for many years."
In Pennsylvania's 17th district in the Pittsburgh suburbs, Catholic Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) is expected to win re-election over a Catholic Republican challenger, Sean Parnell. Lamb said in 2018 that on abortion, Catholics "believe that life begins at conception," but "as a matter of separation of church and state, I think a woman has the right to choose under the law." He said he would vote against a 20-week abortion ban.