Can Republicans turn the ship and figure it out? From within their own party, they are questioning their ability to govern after the last seven months of inadequate leadership. Their turmoil was capped by a huge loss in the Senate to advance the ObamaCare repeal.
The GOP faces serious divisions over the agenda that lies ahead: raising the debt ceiling and reforming the tax code.
“What we have to be able to do is demonstrate that we’re capable of doing hard things,” said Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (S.D.). “Healthcare reform is hard. Tax reform is hard. We’ve got to pivot now to tax reform and get an outcome.”
The stakes are dramatically high on the debt-ceiling debate. With the GOP in charge of Congress and the White House, there’s just nowhere to hide if their decision does help lower taxes for the middle class. A GOP veteran, Newt Gingrich, is already saying that they should lower their expectations on tax reform and settle for a simpler package of tax cuts.
Gingrich summed up his thoughts after a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other Republican senators on Tuesday morning saying that the best way to demonstrate an ability to govern is “to pass something that matters.” Gingrich continued, “Tax cuts are the most important single thing they’re going to do this year, and they need to get them done by Thanksgiving so they can affect the economy by 2018.”
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who was critical throughout the healthcare debate of what he viewed as a haphazard process, said, “Coming from the business world, having solved many problems, there’s a process you follow. That seems to be quite foreign to Washington, D.C.,” he added. “It’s a more political process as opposed to a problem-solving process.”
The infighting is not just happening in the White House now. Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), a member of the far-right Freedom Caucus, issued an intense rebuke of his GOP colleagues this week, saying, “The Republican Party is dead.” Buck wrote in an op-ed for The Denver Post that Republicans had offered voters a “vision for a better America” — the repeal of ObamaCare, tax reform, a balanced budget — but they have not fulfilled one of their promises.
“What have we done? Congress passed an omnibus spending bill that betrays our values. A replacement for Obamacare lies dead on the Senate floor. We’ve heard about tax reform but seen nothing yet. Immigration reform is talked about more on Fox News than it is on the House floor,” wrote Buck. He called the current GOP leadership “a ‘B-team’ of messengers who distract the nation with frivolities.”
The House Republicans place the blame on the Senate Republicans. “Our chamber has been busy passing bills this year, many of which go with little coverage or fanfare, including major ones like the [Department of Veterans Affairs] reform bill and Dodd-Frank repeal,” a congressional aide said. “The House is racking and stacking bills for the Senate to act on. We can’t control the upper chamber’s agenda.”
Some in the House are calling for Senate Republicans to go across the aisle and work with the Democrats. But conservatives like Senator Ted Cruz are skeptical. “I would welcome working with Democrats. Sadly, I’m not optimistic that Democrats have any willingness to work together to get anything done,” said Cruz (R-Texas). “The modern Democratic Party is captured by the radical far left.”
In the video below, Republican Senator Jeff Flake shares his deep concern for the party. Do you think that they can pull it together and learn to govern?
What one must wonder is why the GOP afraid to work across the aisle. This country is a melting pot of ideas and beliefs and only putting together a plan that speaks to one side is not going to help things. Republicans are going to have to build a bridge across the Grand Canyon if they want to be successful and do things for America, not Republicans.
Credit: The Hill