By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
In 2016, the Republican Party had overwhelming control of the U.S. House of Representatives and a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate. President Barack Obama, however, was able to thwart the Republican Congress. On Nov. 4, 2016, the voters shocked Democrats and their mainstream media allies by electing billionaire businessman and reality TV star, Donald Trump, a Republican, to succeed Barack Obama.
Republicans across the country expected to see a unified Republican-controlled government that would repeal Obamacare, cut taxes, grow the military, downsize the federal government, build a border wall, enforce America’s immigration laws and take in fewer Muslim refugees.
Republicans have had complete control now for nine months and very little of that agenda has been accomplished. The economy is doing great. Stocks are soaring, unemployment is down and ISIS has suffered major defeats in Mosul and Racqa; but President Trump’s Legislative agenda has crashed and burned in Congress, and conservatives are asking what happened.
U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, said in an email to constituents that that is a legitimate question.
“While on the road lately I’ve been asked, ‘Why can’t Congress get anything done?’ It’s a legitimate question. Many Americans are rightly frustrated that the gridlock in Washington is slowing down a once-promising agenda of reform. President Trump and most every congressional Republican ran on promises to repeal and replace Obamacare, crack down on illegal immigration, overhaul Dodd-Frank, reform our broken tax code, rebuild the military, and fix the VA. Yet ten months into our Republican majority, how much of that has actually been accomplished?” Rep. Roby wrote.
“I understand this frustration because I’m frustrated, too,” Roby said. “My frustration, however, is from the perspective of a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, which has taken action on almost every major agenda item already. On May 4 we passed legislation that repeals Obamacare and replaces it with a system designed to lower costs and increase choices. On June 8 we passed legislation that overhauls Dodd-Frank and untangles the mess of financial regulations hurting hometown lenders, small businesses, and farmers. On September 14 we passed an appropriations package that funds construction of a border wall and increases funding for the military.”
“My House colleagues and I worked hard to get these bills written, through committee, passed on the floor, and sent to the Senate. As you can imagine, it has been extremely disappointing to see this good policy that will truly help American families and small businesses pile up on the other side of the Capitol. The Senate has been unable to pass any of these key agenda bills and send them to the President for his signature,” Congresswoman Roby continued.
“I have great respect for the Senate, and Alabama has been fortunate to have strong representation in the Senate for many years,” Roby explained. “And, to be fair, the Senate has passed several very important measures, including 14 Congressional Review Act bills rolling back Obama-era regulations and legislation to usher in historic reforms at the VA. Just last week, they successfully amended and passed our budget resolution to pave the way for pro-growth tax reform. While these are good successes, the Senate must still find a way to be more productive.”
“While we cannot control what happens on the other side of the Capitol, the House will remain focused on keeping our promises. The Senate’s successful passage of the budget resolution is a good sign that tax reform legislation has a chance to pass there, too. Delivering on tax reform would be a tremendous boost to the economy and demonstrate that Congress is serious about addressing the nation’s problems,” Rep. Roby said.
“I am hopeful that we will soon see movement on tax reform, and I’ll keep you posted on that front,” Roby concluded.
While the House passed a bill to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 – Obamacare – the Senate leadership has been unable to get any sort of a repeal bill out of the Republican-controlled Senate, even though just about every Republican candidate has made repealing the unpopular healthcare takeover a priority on the campaign trail for the last six and a half years.
Similarly, there has been little action on the rest of the Republican agenda. Pleas by the president to change the rules of the Senate to make it easier to pass legislation by ending the 60 vote cloture requirement was ignored by the GOP senators.
The failure to act on the GOP legislative agenda has angered many conservative voters.
Here in Alabama, appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R) was soundly defeated by the conservative candidate, Judge Roy Moore in the Republican primary runoff even though the Senate leadership poured tens of millions of dollars into the race, and both President Trump and Vice-President Pence came to Alabama to beg voters to elect Strange. Following Moore’s victory, both Jeff Flake, Ariz., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., have already announced they would not run for re-election next year because they faced determined conservative challengers in their Republican primaries. Both Corker and Flake have been harshly critical of President Trump, who has similarly bashed the two Republicans. In Mississippi, incumbent Roger Wicker faces a determined challenge from conservative state Sen. Chris McDaniel.
GOP conservatives and moderates are facing off in primaries across the country in 2018 in what some media pundits are calling a Republican Civil War. Roby even has drawn two challengers questioning her conservative credentials.