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An agenda for the Republican Congress
Republicans need a sober policy agenda and mature leadership, not a clown car.
Republicans will be taking over the House of Representatives in January with the slimmest of margins. Because of this slim margin, and the fact that Democrats control the Senate, and because we have a Democratic President with a veto pen, there will be very little that Republicans will be able to accomplish over the next two years. So what should the agenda be for the next two years?
First, Republicans should do their best to stop the deficit spending. Republicans can't pass a conservative budget (and did not attempt to do so the last time we had a Republican President) but they can practice a little more discipline over how much money is leaving Washington. Our deficit and debt are out of control, and we need to move back to financial solvency. There is not much Republicans can do on other policy fronts, but they do hold significant authority over the federal budget.
Second, Republicans should slow down with investigations. Yes, there will be a strong temptation to investigate Hunter Biden, and many Republicans have promised more investigations. But other than being a political weapon against President Joe Biden, will these investigations actually accomplish anything? Will any investigation produce action by law enforcement, especially since President Biden controls the Justice Department? The House should not be a place for endless investigations that produce little fruit.
Third, Republicans should know their role. This means not pushing federal solutions to state-level or local problems. We have a federalist system, and the power of the federal government needs to be limited. The real action on conservative policy is at the state level, and Republicans should trust the state legislatures to get things done. The GOP needs to resist the populist attempt to impose top down solutions for every problem in a nation of 330 million people that stretches across the continent.
Fourth, Republicans need to reign in some of their more kooky members. This means working with people like Marjorie Taylor Greene to stick to a unified message and not pop off about things like Jewish space lasers or why January 6 protesters should have been carrying guns. Alienating her and others like her will not work and will only cause them to run to conservative media to complain about being muzzled by "establishment" leadership.
Ideally, Republicans should have run on a unified agenda, similar to what the party did in 1994. This would have produced a concrete agenda, and would have given people in swing districts or swing states something to consider beyond the flaws of some of the bad candidates like we had in Pennsylvania and Georgia. It is too late to do that now for the election, but there is no reason not to do it now for an actual governing agenda. But this requires Republicans to be serious about governing instead of growing their following on social media or appearing on Fox News. Can they do this? Certainly. Will they? I am not optimistic.
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