Free Markets, Free People

112th Congress

The major tasks for the incoming GOP House

As the GOP takes control of the House, one of the first things they’ll do is try to pass a bill repealing ObamaCare.   It won’t get anywhere after the House as everyone knows. I.e. it has more symbolism than real chance of passing.   That symbolism is an important  way for Republicans to underline the rest of their agenda.  The GOP will own the “funding” mechanism in the House.  And that will be significant.  Part of that will be obvious in some of the packages they plan to offer, such as a package of recissions.

Republicans in the House say they plan to move on to offer a far more sweeping package of "recissions," or elimination of spending previously approved, that will aim to bring domestic spending back to where it was before Mr. Obama became president. The skirmish over that proposal for spending cuts, coupled with related fights over government regulation and health care, will set the battle lines for the next two years, as Washington returns to divided government.

If, in fact, the Republicans do this correctly and continue to push it through 2012 regardless of what the Senate or President do to the product of their work (refuse to pass it or veto it), they will set themselves up well for that year’s elections.  As the WSJ notes, if there was a mandate in this election it is “cut spending”.


House Republicans have also set their sights on scaling back environmental regulations and tightening border security.

Actually all regulation should be examined, especially the newly passed regulation.  It should be examined in light of whether it helps create jobs or hinders such creation.  That includes those the EPA is poised to implement or has implemented as well as regulations by other agencies such as the FCC, and any departments which have decided to rule by regulatory fiat.  Again if they do that, the GOP will position themselves well for the next election.

A word of caution though.  Investigations, while proper and necessary to perform the oversight function that Congress is charged with must be kept under strict control and not wander into what most would see as “witch hunts” that are based in partisan politics.  Republican Darrell Issa of California is the incoming chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.  He plans extensive hearings on a broad range of subjects, to include Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Medicare fraud, TARP and other issues.  He also intends to look into the practices of the DoJ.

All well and good and definitely necessary – but he needs to conduct all of them as an adult and avoid even the appearance of partisanship unless he wants what he is trying to do to become the headline issue which masks the other work the GOP is attempting.  Do the job, avoid witch hunts, avoid the appearance of partisanship and avoid fiery rhetoric that he has to walk back or explain away, and it is a procedure that again can benefit the GOP in 2012.

This is the Republican’s one-shot chance to show they’ve listened, heard and will put into practice the will of the people.  If not, they’re  on temporary assignment for two years as it should be clear the voters have committed to 3 successive wave elections and are certainly not averse to a 4th.