posted Alan Greenblatt

States should start getting along better with Congress. Issues that congressional Democrats are touting, such as stem cell research and a minimum wage increase, have already taken root in many states.

Arnold Schwarzenegger said yesterday that he welcomed the congressional change.

"I think it's good that there are new ideas and new blood, because Washington was stuck," he said. "They could not move forward. Not much was accomplished. I think it was terrible."

There are a couple of particular areas where governors will be especially glad to have new negotiating partners on the Hill. One is the No Child Left Behind school testing law, which is due for a rewrite next year. The other is immigration. House Democrats are more likely to go along with a relatively lenient approach favored by President Bush and the Senate this year, making a deal more likely.

And it looks like states can count on a new ally within the Republican leadership as well. Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander is claiming enough support to serve as GOP whip, the number two position. His opponent, Rick Santorum, lost his seat on Tuesday.

Alexander has been a great champion of the states and federalism. His rise means such concerns will at least get more of a hearing than has often been true in the recent past.