For investors, the stakes are critical. Tax reform, the budget deficit and defense spending are just some of the issues that might gain renewed momentum from a Republican-controlled Congress. Though the change in Washington's power balance is relatively modest, the GOP's negotiating position is clearly much stronger. Congress will be able to pass legislation and dare President Obama to veto it.
Here, then, are five areas that investors should be watching over for the next two years as the power struggle between Congress and the president shifts to reflect the new political balance.