How will Congress work with President Trump?

Lawmakers from Michigan discuss what to expect from Donald Trump's presidency

U.S. Capitol
The U.S Capitol building in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 18, 2017.


WASHINGTON (WOOD) — With the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump imminent, 24 Hour News 8 is in Washington asking lawmakers about what his presidency might mean for the way the country is governed and how they will interact with the new chief executive.

There is plenty of trepidation about what will happen after Trump takes over the reins of government. Most lawmakers who spoke to 24 Hour News 8 political reporter Rick Albin said they are ready, while others said they will take a wait-and-see attitude.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, says one of the first big fights will be over an old issue.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow
U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow speaks with 24 Hour News 8 political reporter Rick Albin in her office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 18, 2017.

“There is going to be a huge debate about health care broadly, and again, there’s differences between what the new president has said and what cabinet officials are saying,” she said.

The Senate’s approval of many of those cabinet appointees has been contentious.

When asked if an incoming president should have broad latitude in selecting his cabinet, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, said yes. However, he added, “certainly I think the Senate plays a very important role in about asking the tough questions.”

Among those tough questions are concerns that both Michigan senators shared about West Michigan’s Betsy DeVos as secretary of education. They seem poised to oppose her nomination if and when it comes to the Senate floor — probably not until next week at the earliest.

“I want to be able to support somebody from Michigan. I personally believe that her track record, what she’s advocated for and stood for, is not in the best interest of children and education,” Stabenow said.

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters
U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, speaks with 24 Hour News 8 political reporter Rick Albin in his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 18, 2017.

“She would be, in my mind, the wrong person to be trying to push education policy — particularly the fact that it’s all about ideology and not about looking at the facts. I didn’t see anything in (her confirmation) hearing that changed my opinion,” Peters added, citing his reservations about charter schools, which DeVos supports.

With Republicans in control of the Senate, however, it seems unlikely that DeVos will not be confirmed.

>>Inside woodtv.com: Transfer of Power

But what about those congressional Republicans? U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, said he didn’t expect Trump to win — but now that he has, he’ll have to figure out a way to work with the Senate and House of Representatives. So can Trump build coalitions with lawmakers?

“We’ll see,” Upton said. “The proof is going to be in the pudding. The governing really does start the 20th at noon.”

You can watch inauguration activities all day Friday on WOOD TV8.