If the stars have all aligned correctly, then there is a good chance the Republican Party will control the Senate starting in 2015. This will give them control of both chambers of Congress and allow them to actually do something without Harry Reid tabling legislation on a whim.
While the Georgia and Louisiana races appear headed for a runoff, the GOP may not even need those wins to claim the majority and they could end up as bonuses (giving them a pickup of 8 seats instead of just the necessary 6) come January.
The odds are the Republicans will have, at the least, a 51-49 majority and this opens up all kinds of opportunities for the GOP to pave their way towards a Presidential victory in 2016.
President Obama has nothing to lose. He’ll be a lame duck and will be looking for any opportunity to spend time on the golf course rather than with people he sees as less than worthy, regardless. “Working” with him will be a complete waste of time.
Better for the GOP to use this opportunity to show the base they mean business and offer up a bold, positive agenda heading into 2016. Here are 5 ways they can accomplish this:
1. Start scrutinizing Obama’s judicial nominees – The Senate is supposed to advise and consent on the President’s judicial nominees. Instead, with Harry Reid taking advantage of the “nuclear option”, the Senate has become a rubber stamp for Obama’s left wing nominees. It’s time to put a stop to that.
2. Start talking big time tax reform – The IRS is a pariah now more than ever. People don’t like the IRS to begin with and the GOP needs to sell the public on the idea that to keep the IRS from seizing assets without evidence of a crime and targeting organizations because of politics, there must be a complete overhaul of the US tax system. It has to be sold as something that is best for the country overall, not something that will “create jobs” (though it eventually will) or “spur investment” (though it will) because it leaves far too much room for Democrats to frame it as a “giveaway to the rich.”
3. Provide sound, market based ideas to replace Obamacare – Obamacare has been a disaster for the most part but there are elements of it that people do like and while repeal sounds good, the GOP doesn’t have enough votes to override an Obama veto. But they do have votes to force his hand politically. If there is one thing people have hated about Obamacare, it is the lack of choice. The President lied when he said people could keep their plans or their doctors. The GOP can sell that to the American people and come up with solutions and then dare Obama to veto it.
4. Push school choice – This is a popular issue, particularly among Hispanic voters. The GOP should push this idea, using the language of “opportunity scholarships.” The Department of Education has a discretionary budget over $70 billion a year. It’s time to allocate some of that money as block grants to states, allowing for kids in poorer areas to attend better schools. The state of Wisconsin, a relatively blue state with a strong teachers union, favors expanding school choice statewide 50% to 44%.
5. Go easy on the investigations and leave the petty issues – While many investigations are led by the House, the GOP needs to avoid the label of “do nothing” and focus solely on legislation and laying the groundwork for a GOP President in 2016. If the public feels the GOP is doing nothing but trying to “get” President Obama, it could backfire on them.
With respect to the petty issues: as much as I like Senator Cruz, his idea to pass a constitutional amendment to allow Congress to ban gay marriage is pointless. Most people are accepting of gay marriage or apathetic about it. The political fight on that is done. Let the Democrats drive wedge issues. As anybody can see, it’s backfiring on them this year.
The GOP won’t have much time. 2015 will come and go and once we get into 2016, all attention will be on the election.
Republicans need to move swiftly and surely, should they take over. This will require great political maneuvering because in the event President Obama vetoes legislation that hits his desk (which he is sure to do), they will have to frame it as a failure on his part.
Will Senate Majority Leader McConnell be able to make that happen? We shall see.