10/24/17 – Opposition Party

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Being the opposition party on Capitol Hill is easy.

Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.

Earlier this year, House Speaker Paul Ryan admitted that being the opposition party doesn’t take much effort.  From 2007 to 2011, the GOP was the minority in the House [here, here].  It was the minority from 2007 to 2013 in the Senate [here].  But even after Republicans gained the majority in both chambers it still had a Democratic president.

In Barack Obama’s second presidential term, Republicans occasionally passed bills knowing they’d get vetoed.  The best example were efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare.  It didn’t matter what was in the bills as they’d never get past the president’s veto pen.

That all changed in 2017 with a Republican president.  The GOP could quickly enact its legislative priorities.

At least that was the theory.  But that’s not what’s happened.

Consider that from 2011 to 2016 House Republicans passed one bill after another that would’ve impacted Obamacare.  Fifty-four in all.  Six were complete repeals.

But now it’s struggling to get just one repeal through both GOP-controlled chambers of the House and Senate.  Republicans are hamstrung by principled differences and petty politics.

After 10 years in the wilderness, Congressional Republicans have few major accomplishments despite now being in charge.

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