New GOP Congress needs a Conservative Consensus



House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) speaks to reporters at a press conference on January 7, 2015.

Doyle Wang, Staff Writer

On November 4th of last year, voters delivered a powerful message of rejection to the Obama administration. Dissatisfied with sluggish economic growth, the immigration crisis at the southern border, the rise of ISIS, and the unpopular results of Obamacare, voters shook up the US Senate by firing Harry Reid’s Democratic majority who previously controlled it and promoted the Republicans into majority status in the upper chamber of Congress. The GOP also experienced gains in the US House, expanding its majority to its largest since the end of WWII.

Now that Pres. Obama has been demoted to lame-duck status, what should the Republicans do to govern now that they have been given full control of Congress? That is a question that has lingered ever since the new 114th Congress has begun taking form. With the GOP now having more of the leverage it needs in Congress, many would believe that they would start repairing the damage done by the onerous liberal policies implemented by the Obama administration over the past six years.
Unfortunately, that is not completely the case as demonstrated from the beginning of the Congress so far. There are still Republicans who lack the backbone they need to courageously push for a bold conservative agenda that they were elected to do. Even worse, there some Republicans even complicit in furthering Obama’s liberal agenda, including the amnesty for illegal aliens enacted by his unconstitutional executive action, higher taxes, common core, abortion on demand, and even keeping Obamacare.

All of these had been rejected by the voters throughout the entire countrylast November. Yet the establishment big-wigs of the GOP congressional leadership still don’t seem to fully understand that. Many of them are walking back on their promise of stopping the president’s unilateral executive fiat mainly because of their squishy fears of being charged with causing another government shutdown and that they ought to work with the president just to get stuff done. After all, they are too busy figuring out how to show they can grow government better than the Democrats instead of doing what they were elected to do.

Although they have managed to get the Keystone XL oil pipeline passed, Republicans are already starting to go spineless on the conservative initiatives they campaigned on last year. With Pres. Obama’s nominee for attorney general in the confirmation process in the Senate, only four GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee showed their opposition towards her nomination during her confirmation hearing. However, it appears that other GOP members of the committee have no problem confirming Lynch, who supports the president’s use of executive order without the full consent of Congress, a violation of the Constitution that should automatically disqualify her from holding the office of attorney general of the United States. Not even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would block a full confirmation vote of Mrs. Lynch.

Besides letting Obama’s executive amnesty take effect, Republican leaders have talked about raising the federal gas tax instead of pushing for lower taxes and tax reform like they promised. Not even simple solutions such as the FairTax are gaining traction, mainly because they are not known very well among other congressional members.

Clearly, the 2014 elections were not really an endorsement of the GOP, but more of a repudiation of Obama’s policies. Yet many in the GOP are still intent on pushing for these same liberal policies in the name of compromise. Instead, they ought to come to a conservative consensus agenda that balances the federal budget, simplifies the tax code, eliminates the IRS, promotes school choice, secures the border first, forbids amnesty for those who entered our country unlawfully, and protects the constitution by putting term limits in place as well as defunding the president’s unlawful executive action on immigration. They also need to know that Obama has no capacity in working with them and wants his radical liberal agenda implemented no matter what. Even though voters rejected him at the ballot box last fall, he pushed his executive order on immigration without the consent of Congress since all the amnesty legislation he supported could not get through Congress. He continues to making veto threats at any bill that approves the Keystone XL pipeline, a bill that several Democrats have voted for.

Unfortunately, the new Republican Congress has shown little sign of disentangling the bureaucracy that has prevented these conservative agenda items to get passed. Their current agenda items only have what Ronald Reagan would call “pale-pastels” of bold-colored differences. Many of these GOP members make the excuse that they do not have the votes in getting them passed, yet embrace the utterly unpopular status quo in Washington that has prevented these agenda items from getting passed. It is impossible to see why the most senior members of Congress would push for term limits since they enjoy the benefits of seniority, especially if they are a US Senator.

Thus, it will take more than a simple Republican majority in the Senate to undo the damage done by the progressive policies of Obama for the last six years. It will take the unity of GOP members in Congress to unite behind a conservative consensus and not be afraid of losing elections. Republicans who have implemented conservative solutions at the state level have risked their political careers to tackle the fiscal and economic woes they inherited and have won reelection nevertheless. It is time for Republicans in Washington to do the same.