Watching from outside of the Washington Beltway, it seems to me that the Republican leadership in congress is incapable of organizing a two car funeral, let alone enacting major reform or pass significant legislation.
Exhibit number one are the pathetic attempts by U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to repeal and replace Obamacare.
As we all know, Republicans ran for 7 years on repealing Obamacare.
But after seven years and a surprise Trump victory, the GOP was caught flat-footed, without a healthcare plan that a majority of congress could get behind.
Ryan led with a top down approach . . . a binary choice for his caucus where he essentially stated — you’re either with me or against me. Predictably, many members of the Republican caucus balked — as politics especially is about inclusion in the making of legislation — not exclusion.
The House process was painful to watch and for the entire world reminded us of a silent movie with Republican members of the House shuttling back and for to microphones and with virtually the same message . . . “we’re trying to get to yes.”
Finally, after painful negotiations and countless media appearances to explain “how hard it was to get something like this done,” they passed a bill that nobody liked . . . with the hope was it would be sorted out in conference.
Now enters Senate Majority Leader McConnell — who went through some of the same machinations — but ultimately failed to get the Senate on board when Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., just saidthumbs down and no.
Later McConnell weighed in and stated that President Trump had “excessive expectations” which went over like a lead balloon with the president and caused a firestorm of tweets.
Clearly Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell were no fans of the Trump candidacy for president or — for that matter — much of his agenda and, in the opinion of this writer and others, have deliberately slow-walked much of what the Trump White House wants to achieve.
Case in point is one of the president’s signature issues and a goal embraced by the base that elected Trump — and that’s the wall or the fence which neither McConnell, Ryan or their allies at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce want to see happen.
Recently in his speech in Arizona, the president threatened to shut down the government if funding for the wall is not included in the upcoming budget, and he also called on Majority Leader McConnell to end the legislative filibuster that requires 60 votes. President Trump wants a simple majority to pass legislation. That seems to me to reasonable request — especially during these hyper partisan times.
And can anyone doubt if Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., became the Democratic majority leader — he would immediately end the legislative filibuster in order to enact his team’s big government, progressive agenda?
A lot is at stake this fall — including tax reform or at the very least, tax cuts for businesses, families and small businesses.
Can Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader McConnell pull it together and drive the president’s agenda through their respective caucuses?
We’ll see. If they can’t deliver — it’s time for a change of management.
Marc Rotterman worked on the national campaign for Reagan for president in 1980. He currently serves as senior fellow at the John Locke Foundation. He is the host of “Front Row” on UNC-TV and The NC Channel. Follow him on Twitter @FrontRowmarc. For more of his reports —Click Here Now.