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Republican Party Wins Control of US Senate, Strengthens Hold on House

The Republican Party has won control of the United States Senate and strengthened its majority in the House of Representatives. The Democratic Party had held 55 of the Senate’s 100 seats. But the Republicans gained at least seven of those seats in elections on Tuesday. The Republicans also gained at least 14 House seats currently held by Democrats.

Beginning in January, President Barack Obama’s political opponents will control both houses of Congress for the first time in his presidency. Political experts say it will be difficult for the president to build support for his policies in his final two years in office.

Steve Peoples is a reporter for the Associated Press news agency.

“Well this is very bad news for President Obama, you know, he had a really hard time in recent years when Democrats controlled one of the, one of the two houses in Congress, now Republicans control both, so he is going to have a very, very difficult time getting his agenda through Congress. It's gonna mean that to get anything done, he’s going to have to significantly compromise with Republicans and the GOP (Grand Old Party) has shown no willingness to bend on their end.”

In Kentucky, Mitch McConnell was elected to a sixth term in the U.S. Senate. He is now Senate’s minority leader. In January he will likely become the majority leader. He spoke to supporters Tuesday night after easily defeating his Democratic opponent. He said Republicans won because Americans are unhappy with the government.

“It was about a government that people no longer trust to carry out its most basic duties -- to keep them safe, to protect the border, to provide dignified and quality care for our veterans. A government that can’t be trusted to do the basic things because it’s too busy focusing on things it shouldn’t be focused on at all.”

Republicans have held a majority of the seats in the House of Representatives since 2011. Before the elections on Tuesday, most political experts expected them to increase their majority in the House. In the next Congress, there could be more Republicans in the House than at any time since the end of World War II 60 years ago.

President Obama has lost popularity since he was reelected in 2012. Only about 40 percent of those Americans asked say he is doing a good job. Some voters do not think he is a good leader.

Allan Lichtman is a political historian and a professor at the American University in Washington, D.C. He says Mr. Obama’s unpopularity hurt political candidates who supported his policies. Professor Lichtman spoke to VOA on Skype.

“It's not as if the Republicans in this election represented grand ideas, inspiring solutions to national problems. They were simply pinning every Democrat to an unpopular Democratic president.”

In this mid-term election, some Democratic candidates did not ask the president to campaign for them. Some of them said they disagreed with his health care and energy policies.

The Center for Responsive Politics has estimated that almost $4 billion was spent by candidates and groups supporting and opposing them in this year’s midterm election. That is the highest amount spent on congressional elections in the country’s history.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

This story was based on a series of reports from VOA’s News Division. Christopher Cruise wrote report for VOA Learning English. Jonathan Evans read and produced the report. George Grow was the editor.