Big Changes Coming to the Congress?
Time to put up or shut up! After their expected November gains, the TEA Party caucus within the Republican Party (headed by Minnesota’s Michele Bachmann with 52 other Republicans and so far no Democrats aligned with the fiscally- and Constitutionally-conservative TEA movement) expects to put into action an impressive war plan, how much the Republican Party goes for the TEA agenda remains to be seen. The TEA Party plan for the House has five steps. In keeping with the TEA = “Taxed Enough Already” or “Taken Enough Abuse” idea, expect:
1. Extending the Bush era Tax Cuts
2. Slashing government spending except Defense and Social Security by 40%
3. Repealing, or at least defunding, Obamacare
4. Creating a budget early on
5. Passing some package of legislation ultra-friendly to small- and medium-sized business to stimulate maximum jobs growth
Overall the effect of all this would cause a massive shrinking of the federal government from “the get-go.” YES SIR, YES SIR! As Ronald Reagan put it, “The federal government is not the answer to the problem; the Federal Government IS the problem . . . .”
Meanwhile, the fate of the Senate hangs in the balance with Republicans needing to win nine senate seats to take the majority there. South Carolina Republican senator Jim DeMint has received a lot of heat from non-TEA Republicans over his outspoken call to fully return the GOP to its conservative fiscal and Constitutional values. The numbers of TEA Partiers in the Senate is very small but they’re expected to wield a big influence upon the G.O.P. nevertheless.
But even before that happens, America might be in for a highly contentious lame duck session starting next week. If the Republicans make immense gains in the House and Senate and Governors’ mansions as predicted by the pollsters (+70 seats in the House; +8 senate seats; and +9 governorships), Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid will come under great pressure from the Obama White House to “accomplish” some more of Obama’s pet projects such as Card Check for Unions; an illegal-immigration “reform” bill akin to the “Dream Bill; Gays in the military reform of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; etc., etc. Everything but a budget (which they’ve failed to even attempt to pass) could be the Dems last minute rejection of the American voters’ rejection of them and their policies. That’s a lot of “gotcha” and wrong-headed animosity being expressed in Washington over the next two and a half months in Rajjpuut’s opinion and the Republicans in Congress will need to stand firm.
This standing firm will be very important since the voters are expected in six days to use the ballot box as a negative referendum on all things Obama from 2009 to present. As for the new Congress beginning in mid-January, the word is that while the newly formed TEA Party caucus within (but outside of) the elected Republicans in both chambers of congress wants a 40% slashing of government spending on everything but Defense and Social Security; and all Republican electees, TEA Party or not, are committed to some level of spending cuts and full extension of the Bush tax cuts to all taxpayers . . . the real question is how long can they extend the Bush Cuts and how much can they slash without encountering Obama’s veto? So the best guess is that we’ll see something like a 30% slash in government spending on “discretionary matters” and a three-year extension of the Bush Tax Cuts.
However, politics being what politics is . . . expect the Republicans to push through an eight- or ten-year extension of those cuts for the president to veto and then after the veto, it’s anybody’s guess whether a four-year extension can get presidential approval. The other two likely early efforts by a new Republican majority in the House of Representatives would be first of all to DEFUND and REPEAL Obamacare; and then to pass some package of support for small and medium-sized business to get the economy sailing with a following wind. Overall, expect political fireworks of a positive kind for a change come January.
Ya’all live long, strong and ornery,