President Obama and Democrats in Congress appear willing to use every legal (and maybe some illegal) tools available to undermine the Trump White House. Illegal leaks, misleading news stories, demonstrations, bureaucratic meddling, and Congressional obstruction have morphed into the Left’s partisan playbook, intentionally slow walking those trying to move forward on the Trump agenda.
The country should not stand for this, and neither should the GOP. What can the Republican leadership do to fight back against the all-out war being waged against President Trump? For starters, they could cancel all vacations for Congress until the August recess. Seriously.
Here’s why. The best response to the coordinated attacks on the Trump presidency is to repeal and replace ObamaCare, enact tax reform, confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and roll back Obama’s damaging environmental legacy.
Voters want action, and thanks to Democrat maneuvering, there is precious little time to deliver on Trump’s campaign promises. In fact, there is probably not enough time, especially the way the Congressional calendar is laid out.
There are 115 week days from now until Congress decamps on July 31. For fully 22 of those days, Congress is scheduled to be in recess. With Democrats assembling a full-out campaign of obstruction and delay, that is way too many days off.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should cancel the break expected on March 16-17, as well as the two week hiatus between April 10-21. Also, keep Congress in session over Memorial Day and July 4; it’s high time the GOP started playing hard ball. If Democrats continue to refuse to do their jobs, threaten to cancel the August recess as well.
A recent piece from BuzzFeed chronicles the build-up of a so-called Democratic “war room” aimed at slow-walking everything GOP.
Funded by the Center for American Progress, the activist cell is clogging up the normal process of government appointments, so as to divert precious floor time away from important legislative efforts like tax reform. With hundreds of federal appointments still pending, the group is feverishly dredging up conflicts and issues – faux or real -- that can tie up the hearings necessary for confirmation.
That’s not all. The group is also working to fuel the ongoing brouhaha over connections between Trump supporters and Russia, gin up protests that greet Congressional Republicans on their visits home, offer Democrats strategies for undermining GOP policy initiatives and generally “expand indefinitely” their efforts to oppose Trump. The group is rapidly adding staff, which has swelled to 340 operatives.
They are not alone. Clinton SuperPac Priorities USA, American Bridge and others have joined ranks in undermining and slowing the Trump agenda.
Democrats think this is a winning strategy, but polling shows that’s not true. Almost two-thirds of likely voters in a recent survey said they thought it would be good for the country if Democrats worked with Trump. The same number thought the obstruction wasn’t even good for Democrats. Americans know we have serious challenges that have not been addressed over the past eight years. Everyone talks about infrastructure; it’s high time we did something about it. All parties know we need to revamp our dysfunctional tax system and over-regulated state. Trump wants to address those issues, if only Democrats will play ball.
At the moment, they are not. The Chuck Schumer party has scored unprecedented delays in confirming Trump appointees. There are still three cabinet nominees who are “on hold.” Those who have been voted in have received 69 affirmative votes; Obama’s cabinet picks received 92 on average and George W. Bush’s cabinet choices were awarded 95 “yea” votes. This is simply mean-spirited partisanship.
Worse, there are some 552 executive positions to be filled. Only 18 have so far been confirmed, while an additional 17 have been nominated. The New York Times chides the Trump White House for failing to fill the queue, but it’s pretty tough to roll out a well-coordinated hiring process when your top folks aren’t yet in place. Also, given the scrutiny that activists will give every nominee, the process is more gummed up than usual, with even those ready to fill less important positions requiring what President Trump might call “extreme vetting.”
Cancelling time off would allow more time to get the people’s work moving forward; it would also signal that Republicans in Congress are deadly serious about fulfilling their promises to constituents. Given that the GOP now controls all three branches of government, voters (and Trump) are beginning to grumble about the delay in, for example, replacing Obamacare. Critics note that Republicans have talked about dumping the ACA for six years; many think the repeal and replacement bill should have be ready to go a month ago.
Republicans cannot afford to lose the confidence of their backers. Cancelling vacations would help. It would also deny liberal activists the opportunity to stage demonstrations as the members of Congress return home to host town hall gatherings. These rallies make for great TV and help Democrats portray the nation as not happy with Trump’s policies. Polling suggests otherwise, and indicates the GOP needs to push ahead.
Americans are more optimistic than they have been in years. Consumer sentiment is at a 15-year high, and small business optimism is higher than it’s been since 2004. That is a positive tailwind for Congress, one they must not squander. A few days off is a small price to pay to keep the faith of American voters.