Tea partiers and establishment Republicans finally came together to give the GOP control of the Senate and increase its position in the House. Although Republican leaders anticipate a busy 114th Congress, the question is will it be enough to satisfy conservatives?
A “humbled” U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) offered a broad outline of what we can expect in the next two years, according to a statement published on his website. He begins by anticipating that the Senate will act on the hundreds of bipartisan House bills that outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has long ignored.
“Americans can expect the new Congress to debate and vote soon on the many common-sense jobs and energy bills that passed the Republican-led House in recent years with bipartisan support but were never even brought to a vote by the outgoing Senate majority, as well as solutions offered by Senate Republicans that were denied consideration,” he said.
He also referred to his “Complete Five Point Roadmap for harnessing the emerging energy boom in America, resetting our economy and restoring the American Dream for our children and grandchildren,” which includes:
Point One: Fixing the Tax Code
Point Two: Solving Our Spending Problem
Point Three: Reforming Our Legal System
Point Four: Reforming Our Regulatory System
Point Five: Improving Our Education System
Boehner placed his emphasis firmly on energy and the economy, and stated that “Republicans have made these our priorities by listening to the people we take an oath to serve.”
Apparently Boehner and other establishment Republicans haven’t been “listening to the people” as much as they should have, because there are a few items missing from his proposed agenda.
There’s no question but that the economy has long been anemic, and that the Obama administration has turned our energy policy into a joke, but what about the Affordable Care Act? It’s also in shambles, is a horrific drain on the economy and, at one point, the GOP promised to defund it.
But that was then — this is now. The Hill reported last year:
After their costly political strategy to defund ObamaCare, GOP lawmakers are more willing to support measures that will repair the president’s signature healthcare law, political science Professor Jack Pitney said.
“Republicans took a look at the polls. They finally realized that defunding ObamaCare was unpopular, but a measure like this [is] very popular. They realized that, despite all the brave talk, that the shutdown did not work to their advantage, and now they are trying to get on the right side of public opinion,” he said.
In the year since then, Obamacare has become even more unpopular, and with double-digit premium increases expected for 2015, it’s going to be even more so.
Another glaring omission on Boehner’s list is border security. Many conservatives would at least consider the idea of some form of immigration reform with one caveat: Secure the borders first.
The open borders are an invitation to the importation of disease and the spread of terrorism, and have turned our border patrol agents into babysitters and social service employees.
And it’s not just the U.S.-Mexican border that should concern us–there’s also our neighbor to the north.
“Canada has struggled publicly with its own jihadist terror plots,” wrote Garrett Graff in Politico a week before the Canadian Parliament was attacked. He went on to say that:
The Border Patrol summarizes its mission as being the ‘the primary federal law enforcement organization responsible for preventing the entry of terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States between official U.S. Customs and Border Protection ports of entry.
Yet on a daily basis, nearly all of its effort goes towards policing illegal migration. The fact that border security actually has little to do with terrorism is evident from the way the Border Patrol allocates resources — devoting seemingly endless resources to the southern border, even as it leaves comparatively undefended and understaffed the only land border al Qaeda has ever actually used to sneak into the United States.
One final note: Conservatives helped turn Congress into a new Republican stronghold. If the GOP expects to retain the phenomenal gains it made, its members should listen to their constituents — all of them — not just the ones whose political philosophy conforms to their own.