Mike Needham on the future of the Tea Party and Republican Establishment

This month, Mike Needham wrote an article for National Affairs on the growing tension between the Tea Party groups and the Republican establishment entitled “Building a Real Reform Mandate”.

The excerpt below summarizes the conservative hope for Congress in 2015.

Aiming High

Unified Republican control of the Congress now presents an opportunity for a reset, perhaps making possible a fresh start for collaboration between the grassroots and the Republican leadership that has long been reluctant to govern from one house of Congress.

Having faced years of charges of obstructionism, Republican leaders are no doubt anxious to demonstrate to the American people their competence for governing. They will have opportunities to do so early in the next Congress by generating bipartisan coalitions on consensus issues like approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, potentially sending legislation to the president’s desk for signature.

They must, however, keep in mind that conservatives expect more than bill signings, particularly ones that primarily serve the interests of the business community. We got plenty of those in 2009 and 2010. The biggest problem facing the American people isn’t gridlock in Washington; it’s stagnation in America — slow growth in wages, poor economic mobility, weakening social cohesion, a high cost of living exacerbated by government distortions of crucial markets. The Republican Party’s primary concern must be advancing policies that change these trends and, to the extent that the policies of the Obama Administration are to blame, turning the page on the last six years.

The president and his party will naturally be reluctant partners at best in such a project, and Republicans therefore must conceive of their most important efforts as designed to operate around them. The prospect of enacting legislation, tantalizing as it may be, will be more of a distraction for the remainder of the Obama presidency than a tangible goal.

Winning the Senate should not cause the GOP to trim its own sails to accommodate the realities of the upper chamber. The budget reconciliation process allows conservatives an opportunity to bring legislation on an issue of maximum contrast like Obamacare to the president’s desk with 51 Senate votes. Meanwhile, conservatives maintain the power to advance a broader policy agenda without concessions to the left by passing bills and resolutions through the House alone with simple majorities.

This mechanism for internal consensus-building and platform development led in 2011 to the party’s embrace of premium support for Medicare. The House should continue this pattern in 2015 with an optimistic agenda addressing the real concerns of working-class Americans: the price and quality of health care; the state of our school system and the affordability of appropriate higher-education opportunities; unaffordable prices for food, gas, and housing; and the availability of well-paid jobs.

We know a Republican Senate would at least take up the pieces of this agenda if received from the House — an important departure from years past. The gridlock ensuing from a Democratic filibuster, while not ideal, would still provide opportunities to educate and persuade the nation of the merits of our vision — though only if the party offers a reasonably unified front championing solidly conservative legislation.

Through it all, the Tea Party can be an asset to conservative lawmakers committed to using their platform to articulate a reform agenda. As Democrats saw at their 2010 town halls, these activists can be a force to be reckoned with when turned on a recalcitrant left — as would ideally be the case in the event of Democratic filibustering of popular House-passed measures. But the Tea Party can devote its efforts to such tasks only if the Republican Party is discharging its own duties appropriately. Otherwise, it will continue to serve as a pressure mechanism on the right, demanding that conservative legislation be brought to the floor in each chamber, criticizing deal-making that undermines conservative priorities, and holding risk-averse Republicans accountable for squandering opportunities for productive interparty conflict.

Visit the National Affairs website to view the full article.

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Obama, Republican Leaders Push Cromnibus Forward

Moments ago, the Republican-controlled House passed the cromnibus after very aggressive whipping from President Obama and the White House staff. Heritage Action key voted against the 1,700+ page bill because it amounts to a blank check for Obama’s amnesty.

This morning, the bill’s defeat was seen as likely when the rule to debate the bill passed by just two votes after significant arm-twisting from top Republicans.  According to National Review, “House leadership promised to pull the CRomnibus and replace it with a short-term continuing resolution that would push the entire funding debate into next year.”

Pushing the debate into the early next year would have set the stage for a significant fight to stop the President’s unlawful amnesty.  Instead, House GOP leaders worked with President Obama to fund his executive amnesty.

Conservative lawmakers are livid, and for good reason.

The Washington Establishment is desperately hoping voters and lawmakers will forget about today’s ugliness, but the deception and shenanigans are different this time.  This legislation funds President Obama’s unilateral, unlawful actions, which include granting quasi-legal status, work permits and Social Security numbers to those who are in the country illegally.

See the House vote on our Scorecard:

Scorecard: Cromnibus Vote

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Heritage Action to Key Vote Blank Check for Amnesty

Next week, the Republican-controlled House is planning to vote on a government spending bill.  The so-called cromnibus, as currently described, would not block the implementation of President Obama’s recently announced changes to our nation’s immigration laws.  Those changes include granting quasi-legal status, work permits and Social Security numbers to those who are in the country illegally.  Heritage Action will key vote against the bill unless it contains legislative language that stops the implementation of the President’s unlawful amnesty program.  As Heritage Action’s chief executive officer Michael A. Needham said earlier this week, “The fight is now, not next year.  Americans expect real action, not a show vote.”

Additionally, Heritage Action will not score in favor of the bill (H.R. 5759) offered by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) 83% because it is purely symbolic.

Related:
MEMO: Reid has few good options on House-passed bill to block Obama’s amnesty
Opposition to Obama’s Amnesty Grows Among Senate Democrats

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Government Shutdown? White House Won’t Commit to Veto

As President Obama prepares to take a series of unlawful execution action​s on immigration – including amnesty and work permits for roughly five million illegal immigrants – the phrase “government shutdown” has resurfaced.  Is a government shutdown the inevitable outcome of confronting Obama’s lawlessness?  Apparently not.  White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest refused to say the President would veto a government spending bill that included a provision that would defund his executive amnesty.

Reporter: SO YOU DON’T RULE OUT THE PRESIDENT SIGNING INTO LAW SOMETHING THAT WOULD UNDO THE VERY THING HE’S GOING TO ANNOUNCE TOMORROW NIGHT?

Earnest: I THINK THAT SEEMS — I THINK WE’LL HAVE TO SORT OF EVALUATE FOR OURSELVES WHAT PROPOSALS REPUBLICANS PUT FORWARD. I WOULDN’T WANT TO HAZARD A GUESS AT THIS POINT.

The full exchange and video are below:

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Surprise! Costs Soar for Food Stamp and Farm Bill

With the food stamp and farm becoming a “partisan flash point” on the campaign trail, it is worth highlighting why so many conservatives opposed the typically bipartisan bill.

Promised reforms to the food stamp program, which comprises roughly 80 percent of the bill’s total spending, are falling predictably short:

THEN: The conference report lacks serious reforms.  While it does close the “heat-and-eat” loophole, it does not contain a repeal of broad-based categorical eligibility and states are able to completely bypass asset tests for food stamp applicants.  Additionally, states will be able to continue receiving waivers to undo what minimal work requirements were in place.  (Heritage Action, Jan. 2014)

NOW: Cuts to the nation’s food stamp program enacted this year are only affecting four states, far from the sweeping overhaul that Republicans had pushed, an Associated Press review has found. As a result, it’s unclear whether the law will realize the estimated $8.6 billion in savings over 10 years that the GOP had advertised. … Among the 16 states that allow the practice or some form of it, 12 governors have taken steps to avoid the food stamp cuts. (Associated Press, Sep. 2014)

Same goes for the farm portion of the farm bill: 

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