Eric Cantor, former House Majority Leader, has some interesting thoughts on the next Congress. Some are good but most indicate how we dodged the bullet when he lost his primary.
After six years, the differences between President Obama and Congressional Republicans are well known. Republicans want to repeal the president’s health-care law and oppose his efforts to regulate climate change and his unilateral moves on immigration. The president opposes the Republican plans for entitlement reform and tax reform.
It would be a disservice to the American people if the next two years are spent simply relitigating these differences.
Already you hear cries that both Republicans and Democrats need to simply use the time between now and November 2016 to define the presidential election. But with each passing day the 2016 agenda will be set more by the Republican and Democrat Presidential contenders and less by Congressional Republicans or President Obama.
How then should the new Congress and President Obama spend the next two years? By focusing on that number: 8,053,000 and what they owe these new Americans.
I think Cantor gets this half-right. Congress should step aside from undertaking major legislation because it is important that our nominee, whoever that is, gets a chance to set the agenda for the general election. This is not to say that Congress should do nothing, but it does mean than comprehensive immigration reform and all its works should be off the table. He says Congress should have two priorities: growing the economy and ensuring access to quality education. These are great buzzwords but the devil, of course, is in the details. There are conservative and federalist ways of accomplishing these goals and there are big-government-nanny-state ways. Unsurprisingly, Cantor shows some affinity for the latter.
Growing the economy
They can begin by moving swiftly on trade promotion authority and finalizing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and a new agreement with Europe (TTIP). Swift approval of updates to our patent laws can encourage more American innovation by deterring patent trolls. A permanent and expanded R&D tax credit (it has been temporary since 1981!) can likewise encourage new and sustained investment in the technologies that will create the next generation of jobs. Accelerating LNG exports, permitting crude oil exports, and streamlining the approval process for new domestic pipelines are all critical steps in sustaining America’s recent energy renaissance and keeping prices moving lower for American consumers.
Some of this is good. Some …read more