Opinion

Now We Can Get Congress Going

Reform the tax code, redefine ‘full time’ as working 40 hours a week, move on the Keystone XL pipeline—there are plenty of tasks ahead.

from WSJ – by John Boehner and Mitch McConnell

Americans have entrusted Republicans with control of both the House and Senate. We are humbled by this opportunity to help struggling middle-class Americans who are clearly frustrated by an increasing lack of opportunity, the stagnation of wages, and a government that seems incapable of performing even basic tasks.

Looking ahead to the next Congress, we will honor the voters’ trust by focusing, first, on jobs and the economy. Among other things, that means a renewed effort to debate and vote on the many bills that passed the Republican-led House in recent years with bipartisan support, but were never even brought to a vote by the Democratic Senate majority. It also means renewing our commitment to repeal ObamaCare, which is hurting the job market along with Americans’ health care.

For years, the House did its job and produced a steady stream of bills that would remove barriers to job creation and lower energy costs for families. Many passed with bipartisan support—only to gather dust in a Democratic-controlled Senate that kept them from ever reaching the president’s desk. Senate Republicans also offered legislation that was denied consideration despite bipartisan support and benefits for American families and jobs.

These bills provide an obvious and potentially bipartisan starting point for the new Congress—and, for President  Obama , a chance to begin the final years of his presidency by taking some steps toward a stronger economy.

These bills include measures authorizing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which will mean lower energy costs for families and more jobs for American workers; the Hire More Heroes Act, legislation encouraging employers to hire more of our nation’s veterans; and a proposal to restore the traditional 40-hour definition of full-time employment, removing an arbitrary and destructive government barrier to more hours and better pay created by the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

We’ll also consider legislation to help protect and expand America’s emerging energy boom and to support innovative charter schools around the country.

Enacting such measures early in the new session will signal that the logjam in Washington has been broken, and help to establish a foundation of certainty and stability that both parties can build upon.

At a time of growing anxiety for the American people, with household incomes stubbornly flat and the nation facing rising threats on multiple fronts, this is vital work.

Will these bills single-handedly turn around the economy? No. But taking up bipartisan bills aimed at helping the economy that have already passed the House is a sensible and obvious first step.

More good ideas aimed at helping the American middle class will follow. And as we work to persuade others of their merit, we won’t repeat the mistakes made when a different majority ran Congress in the first years of Barack Obama’s presidency, attempting to reshape large chunks of the nation’s economy with massive bills that few Americans have read and fewer understand.

Instead, we will restore an era in which committees in both the House and Senate conduct meaningful oversight of federal agencies and develop and debate legislation; and where members of the minority party in both chambers are given the opportunity to participate in the process of governing.

We will oversee a legislature in which “bigger” isn’t automatically equated with “better” when it comes to writing and passing bills.

Our priorities in the 114th Congress will be your priorities. That means addressing head-on many of the most pressing challenges facing the country, including:

• The insanely complex tax code that is driving American jobs overseas;

• Health costs that continue to rise under a hopelessly flawed law that Americans have never supported;

• A savage global terrorist threat that seeks to wage war on every American;

• An education system that denies choice to parents and denies a good education to too many children;

• Excessive regulations and frivolous lawsuits that are driving up costs for families and preventing the economy from growing;

• An antiquated government bureaucracy ill-equipped to serve a citizenry facing 21st-century challenges, from disease control to caring for veterans;

• A national debt that has Americans stealing from their children and grandchildren, robbing them of benefits that they will never see and leaving them with burdens that will be nearly impossible to repay.

January will bring the opportunity to begin anew. Republicans will return the focus to the issues at the top of your priority list. Your concerns will be our concerns. That’s our pledge.

The skeptics say nothing will be accomplished in the next two years. As elected servants of the people, we will make it our job to prove the skeptics wrong.

 Mr. Boehner (R., Ohio), is the House speaker; Mr. McConnell (R., Ky.) is currently the Senate minority leader.

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jerry
5 years ago

I’m not the least bit confident in the abilities of McConnell or Boehner.
They have both shown signs of total cowardice and faulty compromise
in their past actions.
I’m not sure who needs to be the lead speakers, I just think if these two
are the best the Republican caucases can come up with, I believe we
(the citizens) are still in danger.

dan
5 years ago

Fairfax.org. ck. It out. Join. And help pass it on. We must put the power back in the peoples hands. Don’t trust the news to tell you the truth, please get on (Fairfax.org).

Ms. Gillis Colgan
5 years ago

RIK, you’re right. We dodged a very huge and frightening bullet. We’ve got the chance to get our country back on coarse and I, for one, will communicate with all the republican officials locally and federally for the now Red State of Nevada. I’m wondering if “no balls” Boehner can pull it off. I know Heller and Amodei will hear from me on a daily basis now. I will not allow them to fart around, waste my vote, and NOT do what they’ve been elected to do.

PaulE
5 years ago

Both GOP leaders need to fully understand that the people voted the Republicans into control of both houses of Congress to stop the progressive (socialist) policies of Obama and the Democrats and to restore this country to some semblance of the Constitutional Republic that it was founded on. Neither leader should expect to start “anew” in January, as if they have to start from scratch. There are over 300 bills on Harry Reid’s desk from the House, that have already been passed, Mich McConnell’s job on day one is to take all those bills and bring them to a floor… Read more »

Rik
5 years ago

Very fine rhetoric … But will Boehner and McConnell keep to their guns when Obama vetoes every bill they send to his desk? Will they remind Obama that the reason Republicans were elected was to PUT A STOP TO EVERYTHING OBAMA HAS DONE TO DATE TO DESTROY AMERICA AND ESPECIALLY IN DISREGARDING OUR CONSTITUTION! They now have a mandate from the American people to do just that … Stop him and especially repeal Obamacare and everything else he has done so far! … Close our borders, and especially no amnesty! No compromising with this President who had no desire to… Read more »

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