Divided US Congress to Test Bipartisanship — Again
Despite numerous areas of potential conflict, a politically divided and ideologically polarized U.S. Congress may find limited areas of cooperation between the two chambers and President Donald Trump beginning in January, according to political observers.
Trump and the top House Democrat, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, already have signaled a desire to find common ground.
“Hopefully, we can all work together next year to continue delivering for the American people, including on economic growth, infrastructure, trade, lowering the cost of prescription drugs,” the president said at a news conference on Wednesday. “These are some of things that the Democrats do want to work on, and I really believe we’ll be able to do that.”
“We will strive for bipartisanship,” Pelosi told reporters one day after Democrats won control of the House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections. “We believe that we have a responsibility to seek common ground where we can. Where we cannot, we must stand our ground. But we must try.”
At the same time, friction quickly surfaced over what Democrats see as their duty to provide oversight of the executive branch and what the White House sees as looming politically-motivated abuse of the investigative authority that House Democrats will wield when the new Congress is sworn in.
For now, however, key lawmakers are stressing a get-to-work attitude that presumes at least a modicum of comity and bipartisanship.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, pointed to health care during a Wednesday news conference.
“There are serious problems with Obamacare, serious problems that need to get fixed,” McConnell said. “Rhetoric doesn’t solve the problem, and I think we’re obviously going to have to address that now on a bipartisan basis.”
Moments later, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York told reporters Senate Democrats can expand their ranks “by focusing on middle-class issues that affect average voters, such as healthcare, drug prices, things like that.”
Canada Joins US, Japan in Asian Warship Drills
Built to hunt Russian submarines, Canadian frigate HMCS Calgary is instead chasing Japanese and U.S. subs in western Pacific drills as Canada joins other maritime nations in seeking to contain Chinese influence in the Indo Pacific.
“The expectation is to see one, if not two ships, on a year-round basis doing a variety of things with a variety of partners in the region,” Commander Blair Saltel, the captain of Calgary, said in Yokosuka, Japan.
“There’s an opportunity for Canada to demonstrate that we have experience working with allies within coalitions,” Saltel said.
Canada’s decision to deploy ships to Asian naval exercises comes as other nations, including Britain and France, bolster their presence in a region, fearing China’s growing military power could see vital commercial sea lanes come under Beijing’s sway.
London this year has dispatched three warships to the Indo Pacific, including its largest amphibious assault ship, HMS Albion. On its return journey west, following a visit to Japan, the 22,000 ton vessel, with a contingent of 120 Royal Marines on board, sailed close to islands claimed by China in the South China Sea.
Beijing, which says its presence on island bases there is peaceful, slammed the operation as a “provocation.”
Japan, which operates the second largest navy in Asia, this year dispatched the Kaga helicopter on a two-month tour through the South China Sea, and into Indian Ocean, where it sailed with the latest British warship to travel to the region, the Argyll.
Before returning to Canada, the Calgary this month will sail to Sasebo in western Japan, another key base for both the U.S. and Japanese navies, for more anti-submarine warfare drills.