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IN THE NEWS – November 9, 2002: U.S. Midterm Elections - 2002-11-08

This is STEVE EMBER with the VOA Special English program IN THE NEWS.

For the first time in many years, one party will control both houses of the United States Congress and the White House. Members of President Bush’s Republican Party regained control of the Senate from the Democratic Party in elections Tuesday.

Republicans will hold at least fifty-one of the one-hundred seats in the Senate. Democrats hold forty-seven seats. One senator is an independent. Another Senate seat still requires a special election.

Republicans also increased their majority in the House of Representatives. Members of the new Congress will be sworn into office in January.

The election results represent a major victory for Mister Bush. The president’s party usually loses congressional seats in an election held in the middle of his term. Mister Bush appeared publicly with a lot of Republican candidates in the weeks before the election.

The Republican victories mean Mister Bush will have more chances to get his programs passed. Republican Trent Lott of Mississippi will be the new Senate majority leader. As such, he can decide which issues the Senate will consider and when they will consider them. Republicans also will lead Senate committees. This means Mister Bush also is likely to win Senate confirmation of his candidates for federal office.

The Republicans won three seats they currently do not have in the Senate. Former Vice President Walter Mondale lost to Republican Norm Coleman in Minnesota. Mister Mondale’s campaign lasted only a few days. The state’s Democratic Party nominated him after Senator Paul Wellstone died in an airplane crash last month.

In Missouri, Senator Jean Carnahan lost to Republican Jim Talent, a former Congressman. Missus Carnahan had been appointed to fill a Senate seat won by her husband, Mel Carnahan.

In Georgia, Democratic Senator Max Cleland lost to Republican Congressman Saxby Chambliss. During the election campaign, Mister Chambliss often spoke about his efforts as a policy-maker against terrorism. As a young man, Mister Cleland lost both legs and his right arm during the Vietnam War.

Democrats, however, gained governorships in Illinois, Michigan and Pennsylvania -- three states with large populations. In California, voters re-elected Governor Gray Davis, another Democrat. At the same time, Republicans won governors’ races in the traditionally Democratic states of Georgia and Maryland.

On Thursday, President Bush said he would seek quick congressional approval of his Homeland Security Bill. The measure would pull together government agencies that fight terrorism. Mister Bush also hopes Congress will change the federal program to assist retired workers and make tax cuts permanent.

This VOA Special English program, IN THE NEWS, was written by Jerilyn Watson. This is Steve Ember.