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October 23rd, 2017

Insight

Congress Needs to Forget Trump and His Tweets and Pass the Big Bills

Bruce Bialosky

By Bruce Bialosky

Published June 26, 2017

Democrats want to derail any positive activity by the Republican Congress by investigating a phantom Russian crime.  But why do people like Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) step in front of a microphone and say, "I'm not a fan of the daily tweets."  The man who most people say is the smartest guy in the Nation's Capital should know they are nothing but a distraction.  Pass at least some of the big stuff that Republicans want done and put them on Trump's desk for signature.

From the time Mr. Trump became the Republican Party's nominee, I almost totally discounted him in the legislative process.  It is not that I disagree with him on major policy issues.  Mr. Trump has it correctly on such issues as ditching Obamacare, major tax reform and simplification, shutting down illegal immigration in all forms and then revamping the current immigration system, and updating major elements of our infrastructure -- like our sadly outdated air traffic system.  President Trump has all those right plus many more, but that does not matter.  What he has is a pen.

At a news conference on June 13th, Speaker Paul Ryan stated "Look at what we are doing this week; we found out three years ago veterans were dying on these waiting lists that were occurring in Arizona then all around America.  So we uncovered a scandal.  No one realized we could not even bring accountability to the VA.  They could not even fire people who were grossly negligent in their jobs.  So, what are we doing today?  We are fixing this problem.  What did we do last week?  We passed the Choice Act, we repealed and replaced Dodd-Frank.  Ended too Big to Fail, ended bailouts, and brought needed regulatory relief for community banks to help small businesses get credit and grow.  What are we working on next week?  The skills gap.  So people can get the skills they need to get good jobs."  

Now that is what I am talking about.  You don't need Trump for that.  Senator McConnell needs to get some of this through the U.S. Senate and onto the President's desk for signature.  You don't need Trump for these things.  You just need his pen.

It is a good thing that concurrently President Trump was heading to Wisconsin to tell people that college is not for everyone and we need people trained to work with their hands.  The only way we can get that is to bring back vocational training and apprenticeships.  Also, it is nice that we have leaders in this country like Mr. Trump and Mr. Ryan saying that these jobs are honorable and financially beneficial.  That message is also coming from our Labor Secretary Alex Acosta.  A completely different tone than the inaction from the prior Administration.  

The linchpin of this process is the healthcare bill.  It is as if the adversaries of the Republicans are daring them to pass something.  They have cast whatever will eventually be produced as a disaster that will cause bodies to be piled on to carts to be hauled off like during the plague of the 14th century.  

We all know the plan (foisted on Americans by a unified Democratic Party that intervened in a health care market positively accepted by 85% of Americans) has turned into a disaster of epic proportions.  Some have proposed that Republicans need to let Obamacare completely collapse.  That is a fool's errand.  Republicans would most certainly get the blame.

They need to get a plan in place at the soonest possible time and ignore the swirl around it.  The plan needs to get to conference and back to the respective chambers for passage.  Will it be a perfect solution?  Obviously not, but it will save us from heading down the path to single-payer.  It must restore a free market and free consumer choice. It must get the IRS out of being the supervising entity for compliance with the health care laws.   Any plan defects can be tweaked as we see the results.  

Passing the healthcare bill is of such paramount importance I am going to go against one of my core principles of politics.  I never expect anyone to agree with my political beliefs 100% or to vote the way I think in a pure manner.  I object to people who demand such blind allegiance.  But I will say this:  Republicans in both chambers of Congress must unify behind whatever bill comes out of the conference between the House and the Senate.  

None of them or any of us will agree with all of it.  But if they do not pass this they will never get to the immensely necessary tax reform or any other bill of significant consequence.  

Thus, anyone who cannot bring themselves to vote for the health care bill that is presented to them should be primaried.  Their selfishness and ignorance of the damage they will visit on their party deems them mandatorily replaceable.

Certainly, if the healthcare bill does not get passed nothing will get passed.  There will be a good chance the Congress will be lost and a better chance Trump will be impeached.   It will be a downfall for the Republican Party for now and possibly for an extended period.

Mr. Trump will hopefully think what is put on his desk meets his standards, but does anyone believe he will not sign the legislation?  He has already signed over 30 bills put on his desk.  

Congress seems to be working toward what is outlined above, but must stop fiddling while Washington burns and get the bills to Trump's pen.  You will have no one to blame other than yourselves.

Bruce Bialosky is the founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition of California and a former Presidential appointee.

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