It’s been quite a while since the GOP held a majority in the U.S. House, so getting used to their new power is going to take some adjusting. As a group, they are certainly jumping into the fray, right from the start, not satisfied with letting the fight come to them. They are taking the fight to President Obama.
Of their first two major moves, one is a pretty smart strategic idea, but the other one should be canned as a complete waste of time.
U.S. House Republicans announced their plans for their first two major initiatives once Congress returns to session this month. House Republicans plan on rallying GOP support to insist on major spending cuts on any program that isn’t military spending or going to veterans. They also announced their intention to vote to repeal President Obama’s Health Reform law.
Rallying support for what some are calling drastic and unrealistic budget cuts is actually a smart strategic move. But don’t think of it as trying to actually pass a spending bill that sets spending at 2008 levels. Think of it more as a starting point in a negotiation.
If you went to try to buy a used car, you wouldn’t offer the sticker price to the salesman, you would lowball him, assuming his price is actually higher than he really expects to sell the car anyway.
The GOP is trying to get unity behind spending limits simply as a strategy to start negotiations with Senate Democrats at the lowest possible level. It’s also a sign that the GOP, at least for the moment, is remembering what their base claimed they forgot when George W. Bush was President, namely that Republicans are supposed to be against big time government spending.
A few years in the wilderness and taking their own shellacking in 2006 and 2008 seemed to jog their collective memory a bit.
However strong the strategy is to pursue lower spending limits, the GOP’s other move is a complete waste of time.
Dedicating any amount of time to the futile repeal of the Health Care Reform law is beyond making a statement. It’s not like the Republican base needs reminding that the GOP was against that legislation. Wasting time in Congress to officially spit in the wind makes no sense, either as realistic politics, or political base pandering.
With only holding the majority in the U.S. House, governing for Republicans is going to mean compromise with President Obama, not thumbing their collective nose at him over the centerpiece legislation of his administration to this point.
So not only is the repeal vote ineffective, since the Senate won’t even consider it, but it also sets back any potential compromise and movement on real issues that have a chance of making a real difference.
No one expects either the Republican majority in the House or the Democratic majority in the Senate to act like adults the entire time. But in economic times like this, it would be refreshing to see either majority want to use the time they have productively.
I realize that is a lot to ask, but I have always been an optimist.
About The Blogger
- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.