As Congress was sworn-in on Tuesday, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), continues on to wield the gavel in the House of Representatives. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), became the Senate Majority Leader. So, what does it mean now that the GOP has taken control of both Houses of Congress?
During the last Congress, the Republicans took-on the role of adversaries and, especially in the House, it generally failed to negotiate with President Barack Obama. In essence, the Party seemed to act according to the old cliche: cutting off its nose to spite its face.
But, now that Republicans have taken control, it is their job to set the tone, iron-out the differences with the Democratic Party, and work with the President to pass legislation that is best for the Nation, rather than the Party. Over the past two years, ideology always seemed to get in the way!
Since 2010, with the birth of the “Tea Party”, its elements always take stances that are farther to the “Right” than the GOP’s Conservative Wing has taken in the past. The “Party of Lincoln”, which nowadays prefers to be called the “Party of Reagan”, just never seemed to learn from “The Gipper”. Through his years as Governor of California and President, Ronald Reagan learned that, in politics, you have to “give a little, to get a little”.
I’m sure that Boehner and McConnell will generally be able to find common ground with their counterparts in the Democratic Party: House Minority Leader Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). But, the ability of the more Moderates in the GOP to work with the Tea Party element still remains highly suspect at this point.
In the past, a considerable amount of the legislation that was passed by the GOP-controlled House–such as 50 successful votes to repeal “Obamacare”–was mostly ceremonial, since it was certain not to be passed by the Senate. And, President Obama still has the Veto Power.
As the 114th Congress begins, the onus is now on the Republicans to pass meaningful legislation which it believes can avoid the President’s Veto Pen. Anything else, would reveal the GOP’s past bluster as just being a sham!