Politics & Policy

Paint Capitol Hill Red

A GOP Congress would move bills from Reid’s desk to Obama’s.

Scott Brown, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, put it perfectly: “I can be the 51st senator, make Harry Reid the minority leader, take all of those bills on his desk, and put them on the president’s desk.”

Brown’s recent words to Fox News Channel’s Bill Hemmer suggest a unifying theme that Republicans should promote in the final days of this midterm-election campaign. Brown crystallized the obstructionism of Senate majority leader Reid of Nevada, who blocks votes on worthy bills adopted by the Republican House of Representatives. This has spared Reid’s fellow Democrats from taking sides on hundreds of issues. And, by shooting and burying the GOP House’s measures, Reid also guarantees that Obama almost never sees bills that he prefers to ignore.

Republican nominees should embrace Brown’s closing argument.

GOP House members and contenders should ask voters to help them keep Congress’s lower chamber Republican. This will ensure that the current House’s pro-freedom initiatives will prevail again next year.

Republican senators and challengers, meanwhile, should ask voters to send them to Washington to populate a GOP Senate. Under new management, the Senate would debate worthy House bills, pass them, and transmit them to Obama for final disposition.

Among a whopping 347 House initiatives that Reid has interred in shallow graves on the Senate lawn, Republicans should promise to unearth these proposals and deliver them to Obama:

‐ A budget. Since 2010, House Republicans have obeyed federal law and endorsed spending blueprints before every subsequent April 15 deadline. In contrast, Reid and his Democrats brazenly have violated the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act every such year but 2013, when Republican negotiators made them authorize a budget. Washington’s current spendaholism and fiscal brinkmanship largely stem from Senate Democrats’ rejection of elementary financial controls.

‐ While Republicans work to repeal and replace Obamacare, H.R. 3522 (the Employee Health Care Protection Act) would let Americans keep their health plans if they like their health plans. 

H.R. 4 (the Jobs for America Act) would stimulate employment and economic growth by, among other things, dumping Obamacare’s 30-hour definition of full-time work, evaluating the full cost of regulations, and requiring that major new rules concocted by federal bureaucrats could not be enforced without Congress’s assent.

‐ Until Congress crafts major individual and corporate tax relief, H.R. 3086 (the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act) would forestall Internet levies and keep the IRS’s nose out of e-commerce.

H.R. 3 (the Northern Route Approval Act) would greenlight the Keystone XL pipeline, decriminalize some 20,000 private-sector construction jobs, and eventually transport friendly oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries. If despots in Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela dislike this, all the better. 

H.R. 5230 (the Secure the Southwest Border Supplemental Appropriations Act) would provide $694 million to tighten America’s wide-open frontier with Mexico and the world beyond. This bill gives Texas $35 million as partial reimbursement for deploying the National Guard to suture its southern flank.

Promising to use next January to revive these six bills and send them to Obama could serve as a mini–Contract with America. While this is not quite a comprehensive party platform, it’s far better than what the GOP has now: dozens of campaigns going in scores of directions.

Obama infamously boasted that he can use his “pen and a phone” to issue executive orders and, in essence, rule by decree — as he so shamefully has done for much of the last two years. Until November 4, Republicans should run hard and promise to move legislation from a fully GOP Congress onto Obama’s desk.

Obama then will have to break out his pen and use it more conventionally. He can sign much of what a new GOP Congress would send him and, thus, salvage something approaching a more positive legacy. Or he can veto these good ideas and guarantee his one-way trip to the ash heap of history.

Either way, Americans should let Republicans drop that choice squarely in Obama’s lap.

— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.

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