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The power of the House and Senate

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The presidential election is only one day away. Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will become the next president of the United States.  Whether you like your options or not, voters should head to the polls because the most important part of this year’s election is down the ballot.

Congress holds one very powerful role in our political checks and balances system. They have the power to veto anything the President proposes. For this reason the state election is just as important as the presidential election.

Thirty four out of the 100 Senate seats are up for election. Currently there are 44 Democrats, 54 Republicans and two Independents, who caucused with the Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party needs to gain at least five seats to take back control of the Senate. This control would greatly impact the outlook of the nation.

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for election as well.

Currently there are 186 Democrats, 246 Republicans and three vacant seats. Republicans are favored to keep control of the House, but the Senate is up for grabs.Democrats are seeking to take the Senate and have put a large effort into campaigning in swing states.

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(Graphics by Katie Tamosiunas | The DePaulia)

Though the race for presidency has captivated our attention and media landscape, it’s the congressional races that matter most to our daily lives and voting for a senator or representative is just, if not more, important as voting for president.

The House and Senate have the power to override and veto laws that directly impact millennials. While the majority of this election has been focusing on the presidential race, the House and Senate races have the power to affect young voters directly.

According to voter registrations, young voters make up 31 percent of the vote, but have a low turnout rate. If there is a time to get out and vote that time is now.

Out-of-state students, such as DePaul senior Guadalupe Vega, have already casted their absentee ballot.

“I voted and sent my vote back home to California. I think I had to because it’s just too important,” Vega said. “The race is so tight that every vote counts.”

In late September, President Obama vetoed a bill that would allow 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia. Obama vetoed the bill, but Congress overrode his veto. Now the bill has become a law.

The power of the House became apparent when Democrats staged a sit-in protest on the House floor after the Orlando massacre. They protested the Republican Party’s refusal to allow a vote on a gun control measure that would make it harder to purchase a firearm.

The Senate was also successful in passing bills that has defunded Planned Parenthoods and Obamacare.

Congress has also decided to block Obama appointing a new Supreme Court judge that would fill the vacancy left by Antonin Scalia. Currently the Supreme Court is split four to four, with one vacancy that could be the deciding vote in cases. The Republican Party opposes appointing a new judge and wants to reserve the right for the next president, while the Democratic Party wants to allow Obama to appoint a new judge during the final months of his presidency. The problem is the majority controlled Republican Congress must agree to any judge Obama picks. Right now, they currently are stalling until after elections.

The Supreme Court rules on very important issues such as national debt, gay marriage, abortion, guns and healthcare among many other issues. These are all issues that impact Americans. They carry a large weight in our government, and that’s why a new judge is very important for both parties.

“People should remember to vote not just for the president, but down the ballot,” said DePaul Democrats President Jack McNeil. “A lot of young people don’t think anything will change because young people have the lowest voter turnout rate.”

Graduate and Republican student George Rohde also agrees students should voice their vote.

“It is every citizen’s right to carry out their civic duty,” Rohde said. “If you are not happy with what’s going on in Washington or even in politics, you need to be the voice that people hear. I want people to vote.”

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The power of the House and Senate