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If GOP keeps House control, challenges await

By Associated PRess
Published November 3, 2006


WASHINGTON - If Republicans are able to retain control of the U.S. House after next week's elections, they could face daunting obstacles when they return to Washington to govern.

Among them: lingering questions of scandal, the Iraq war, unfinished legislation, disenchanted conservatives and likely a slimmer majority.

"It's going to be a challenge," said Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., of another two-year period with Republicans at the helm. "There's a lot still hanging over us."

First, however, the GOP must retain power - a difficult, but not insurmountable, task.

Days before Tuesday's election, polls suggest Democrats may be able to gain House seats, perhaps even the 15 they would need to win control of the House from Republicans, who have been in charge for a dozen years.

The political environment could hardly be worse for the majority party. Some opinion polls have shown low approval ratings for President Bush and for the Republican-controlled Congress.

Nevertheless, the White House and others reject the gloom-and-doom scenarios.

"Not withstanding national polling data, I think you're going to see a very strong Republican finish," says Rep. Philip English, R-Pa..

Should that happen and the GOP gets another chance to govern, Republicans will have two years to help shape a legacy for the president.

"If we continue to be the majority party, it means that people still have trust and confidence in us," Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Ill., said.

[Last modified November 3, 2006, 02:08:00]

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