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What a Republican US Congress Would Mean

If Americans cast their midterm ballots for Republicans out of anger over inflation, they will not get lower inflation. Instead, they will see benefits, programs, and rights valued by the majority of Americans systematically gutted, as well as more threats to American democracy itself.

BERKELEY – Inflation now tops the list of concerns for many voters in the United States. But if they use this month’s midterm election to protest inflation, they could tip control of Congress to the Republican Party, with disastrous consequences for their own living standards and American democracy.

Whatever happens with inflation over the next year, it will have very little to do with Congress. What matters is the US Federal Reserve’s monetary policy and global developments – such as the war in Ukraine – that affect commodity prices and supply chains. Gasoline prices may be a major source of inflationary pain for US voters, but neither the president nor Congress can do much to reduce them in the short term.

Moreover, we know what a Republican Congress would do. It would slash the government benefits that most Americans value. It would eviscerate the recent Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) provisions to control health-care costs and combat climate change. It would limit and raise the costs of family planning (birth control) and reproductive health services for women, and pursue a federal ban on abortion, with dire economic and societal consequences. Following the Supreme Court’s elimination of the constitutional right to abortion, many American women now must travel to other states to receive care. Under a national ban, Americans would have to seek reproductive health services in other countries.