Republicans Prepare to Take Control amid Internal Tensions

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Although the Republican leadership will take power in a few weeks with broadly similar goals, priorities and timescales are expected to cause internal tensions among the party.

Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, offered words of caution to the party as many feel they have a clean sweep to push through far reaching partisan policies.  He said, “Overreaching after an election is, generally speaking, a mistake. I don’t think we should act as if we’re going to be in the majority forever.”

He pointed out that most of the legislation suggested would require Democratic Party votes to pass them through the Senate.

Republicans are eager to make reforms to the Affordable Care Act and other polices and to do this extremely quickly.  President-Elect Donald Trump, however, shows frequently that he is not bound to typical Republican ideas.  This may well derail some Republican attempts at reform especially as Mr Trump has called for tax cuts and big spending on infrastructure improvements.

Spending is likely to be the real sticking point.  Rep. Thomas Massie, said, “The thing that we have to keep an eye on is the budget. We don’t want to have control of all three levers—the House, the Senate and the White House—and then actually increase the deficit.”

Republicans tend to come into confrontation with one another over the details despite broadly agreeing on issues.  According to the Wall Street Journal, most want to repeal or change the Affordable Care Act, with many wanting this done within two years, yet many feel this is unrealistic.

As well as infighting, the Senate is likely to be another source of frustrating.  They do not have a majority and as such big policy reform will need bipartisan support.

Arguably, it would be ill advised for Trump to take an Obama route and start passing executive orders to bypass the Senate.

Rep. Matt Salmon, said, “If Trump gets really bored with waiting for the Senate to get things done and starts to act like Obama and do a bunch of executive orders, if the Freedom Caucus folks feel they’re unconstitutional—even if they love the policy—I think they’ll end up not falling in line.”

A turbulent time for the Republicans is on the horizon.

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