NEW YORK (CBS 2/WCBS 880) — Americans headed to the polls Tuesday, bringing an end to a long and bitter midterm battle.
At stake is control of Congress. In the House of Representatives, all 435 seats are up for grabs. Republicans need to pick up 39 seats to win control. In the Senate, 37 seats are in play. The GOP needs to pick up 10 to gain control there.
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Voters aren’t shy about telling you they think it’s time for change in Washington. They have a lot of gripes and are seeking new hopes in a still failing economy.
“Obama’s had his chance. Yeah, I like Obama, but I think the Republicans should get a shot. Let’s see what they do,” Charlene Roy of Montclair, N.J., told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
If the political calculus holds, Republicans will get their shot, and experts say one of the first things you can expect is tax cuts. The public is fed up, but Republicans will want to go farther than simply renewing the so-called Bush tax cuts.
“We’re likely to see a whole host of the traditional Republican tax proposals like the elimination of the inheritance tax, like reduction of tax rates overall in every bracket, like the reduction of the number of brackets, reduction of corporate income taxes,” Baruch College pundit David Birdsell said.
Voters everywhere in our area beg to hear the dreaded “t” word dealt with in Congress.
“Lower taxes. Everything keeps going up you know?” said Anna Gonzalez of Paramus, N.J.
“Taxes are too high. People in New Jersey get a chance to move out and they can’t. They can’t sell their property,” added Joseph Altamura of Hasbrouck Heights.
One thing that may surprise voters in this area will be changes in how Republicans want to spend money earmarked for transportation projects.
“One of the things you are likely to see is a move from mass transit investment back to road building investment,” Birdsell said. “We’ve seen this most recently with Gov. Christie in New Jersey rejecting federal support for a PATH tunnel. He has said specifically he wants to use that money to improve roads in New Jersey.”
Voters are also expecting job creation from the new Congress, something to get the stagnant economy rolling again.
“The biggest thing I’d like to see would be a boost in the economy. It would be the betterment of our country as a whole,” said Jim Unger of Cedar Grove, N.J.
“More jobs, the main reason I’m concerned with,” added Eva Kilfether of Dumont, N.J.
“I’m looking for my husband to get a job. He was laid off recently and it’s a tough time, very tough time,” Roy said.
It’s unclear if the new Congress can meet voter demands because fixing the economy is going to need help from both the public and private sectors.
On Wednesday President Barack Obama has scheduled a news conference to lay out his plans for dealing with what is expected to be a new political reality in Washington.