The 2006 elections saw the Democrats taking control of both the House and the Senate for the first time in 12 years. The shift in the House is probably the most significant.In the House, the majority party controls the agenda: what hearings are held, what legislation gets taken up by committees. The Democratic majority is a narrow one, just as the Republican majority had been a narrow one. Many of the newly elected Democrats were chosen to appeal to moderate voters, so it is far from clear that there has been a major shift in the view of House members on tax issues. Still, control of the agenda will tend to mean that Democratic proposals, rather than Republican proposals, will emerge from the House Ways and Means Committee.

A Democratic majority would obviously be better able to control the agenda in the Senate as well. However, as we have seen over the last few years with narrow Republican majorities in the Senate, the minority party can fairly successfully keep legislation bottled up unless their views are taken into account at the committee level.

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