Legislating the 2016 Debate
GOP: Play it Smart by Moving Forward
At the end of the 1972 Robert Redford movie “The Candidate”, the freshly victorious U.S. Senate candidate Bill McKay, played by Redford, turns to and asks a supporter, “So what do we do now?”
While Senate Majority Leader-elect Mitch McConnell probably has a pretty good idea what he’s going to do, the question remains: what’s a Republican majority to do once taking the reins of the United States Senate in 2015?
The short answer is: debate, vote on and pass the 360 or so House bills that Harry Reid (D-NV) has held hostage over the past couple of years. Get them to the president’s desk. Make him publicly declare where he stands on energy, employment, and regulatory and tax reform. He can no longer hide behind Reid’s skirt.
The new Senate majority needs to send Obama legislation where common ground can be found with the White House. The president says he’ll work with Congress where he can, and he says some promising areas include trade agreements, infrastructure needs and some tax reform.
Saying and doing, however, can be different things.
The long—and real—answer comes from Obama himself. He’s made it clear that he believes the American people approve of his policies and the direction he wants to take the country. The fact that the midterm electorate clearly showed his policies and direction the door is either ignored, not believed, or is simply irrelevant to him.
The unilateral action Obama recently announced on immigration reform shows that he not only holds bi-partisanship in distain, as he does the constitutional process, but intends to bypass the legislature when and wherever he can. Do not expect Obama to make conciliatory moves toward Congress.
The president has always put political considerations over the good of the country: the IRS scandal, the VA scandal, the stimulus package, Benghazi, his edict on immigration reform, Obamacare, just to name a few examples. Over the next two years Obama will lay out a political minefield for the GOP to navigate. He will goad, chide, denigrate and provoke them in order to continue his—and the Democrats’—class warfare strategy.
Here the Republicans have the upper hand. If they play it right, they can frame the debate over the next two years leading up to the next presidential election.
There’s plenty at stake here.
Not only is the White House up for grabs in 2016 but the GOP has to defend 24 senate seats that year, the Democrats only 10. Of those 24, sixteen are locked in for the GOP. Five others are a little better than “fairly safe” as long as the incumbents run. That leaves 3 that could easily switch since Democrats vote more heavily in presidential years. And with a GOP Senate with only a 54 seat majority (if the Louisiana runoff goes to the Republicans) there’s a very, very small margin for error.
The GOP can beat Obama and the Democrats at their own cynical game because they have the power to legislate. They can now allow votes on issues that the American people care about. They can force the White House and the party of Pelosi and Reid to show their preference for the progressive-left agenda of restricting individual freedom and empowering government.
- Legislation should be passed by the House and Senate that will elucidate the differences between people empowerment and government empowerment, the first of which should be a budget that is balanced and reduces both taxes and spending.
- Bring the job creating Keystone XL pipeline back up for a vote. Make the president and Democrats defend their opposition to it (again) and force the president to sign it or veto it.
- Pass a repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial institution “reform” law which jeopardizes the growth and security of the mortgage and financial industry and puts actual legislative authority into the hands of bureaucrats.
- Obama says he’ll consider signing a bill repealing Obamacare’s job killing medical device tax which also jacks up the price of medical procedures. Good. Pass a repeal and make him sign it or veto it.
- Repeal Obamacare, if not in whole, then in part starting with the most onerous provisions limiting an individual’s right to buy the policy they want or need.
- Pass legislation reigning in the EPA and reversing its burdensome regulations that have cost thousands of jobs.
In other words, pass legislation that reduces the size and scope of government. Pass legislation that empowers the citizenry and frees all Americans from the failed bureaucratic institutional and policy prisons where Obama and the Democrats are the wardens.
The Republicans can do this. For the sake of the country and the Constitution, the Republicans must do this.
© 2014 Gary M. Wisenbaker. All rights reserved.
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