Republican capture of control of the House of Representatives has changed the mechanisms through which the Obama Administration will pursue its regulatory policy objectives and ensures that disputes between the political parties over regulations will be a recurring feature of the run-up to the 2012 elections.
Until November 2nd, the President led by obtaining landmark legislation from a Congress dominated by his party, and he had little need for concern about legislative oversight of his Administration's initiatives. The President has now lost the opportunity to obtain legislation granting him broad additional authority. He will have to advance his policies through unilateral Executive Branch actions, such as issuance of regulations, executive orders, heightened enforcement and aggressive interpretation of existing laws. The heads of Executive agencies also will have to reallocate their time and political capital to defend the inevitable House oversight hearings on controversial programs.