With the Republicans now in control of the Senate and President Obama soundly repudiated, it’s tempting to employ a “sit back and hold the ball” strategy for the next two years in the hopes of gaining the White House.
Many GOP leaders have publicly and privately expressed a desire to refrain from engaging in budget battles with Mr. Obama while promoting “good governance” bills that are “non-controversial” and might even garner Democratic support.
Pursuing such a strategy would be a colossal mistake.
Republicans were elected to stop Mr. Obama’s radical agenda and to provide a bold contrast on our nation’s economic and national security issues. Democrats did not lose in a landslide because voters want more of the same.
Over the next two years, Republicans should provide a bold contrast through a two-pronged approach: using the power of the purse and oversight, and passing conservative legislation that addresses the relevant issues.
Mr. Obama is threatening to remake America through executive amnesty. He is also promising to unilaterally change aspects of Obamacare and implement more energy regulations.
A GOP-controlled Congress gives Republicans leverage to thwart this harmful and often unconstitutional agenda. More than 70 percent of Americans feel the nation is moving in the wrong direction. Republicans must use the mandate for change to embrace their budget power, not avoid it.
Republicans should pass each of the 12 annual spending bills separately and defund Mr. Obama’s unilateral acts one by one. The president would be forced to veto 12 separate bills and shut down the government in order to preserve his unpopular executive orders.
Aside from the budget process, Republicans can also exercise oversight of the administration by blocking Mr. Obama’s executive appointments until he swears off illegal executive actions and answers questions on scandals, such as Benghazi and the Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups.
Headed into 2016, Republicans should focus on bold colors instead of passing milquetoast legislation that only addresses issues followed by a few Washington insiders.
The bold-colored agenda should include proposals that show how conservative governance would protect national security, economic prosperity and personal liberty.
With the threat of Islamic terror more potent than ever, Republicans must immediately prioritize legislation that protects Americans first. They should pass Sen. Ted Cruz’s bill stripping citizenship from those who fight for the Islamic State and force a vote to cut off aid and arms deals to terrorism-supporting governments.
Additionally, Republicans should pass true conservative immigration reform — antithetical to the proposals that place American interests last. This means completing the border fence, reforming our vulnerable refugee and asylum programs, and cracking down on visas from countries saturated with terrorism threats.
With stagnant wages falling behind the cost of living, it’s time to show voters how conservative solutions address those concerns. Nothing has increased the cost of doing business more than Obamacare. With skyrocketing costs of insurance premiums, it’s no wonder 60 percent of Americans want the law fully repealed. Republicans should follow through with their promise to repeal by using the budget process — the same way it was passed into law in the first place.
The recent shale boom proves that nothing creates jobs and lowers the cost of living more than unshackling our energy resources. The American Energy Renaissance Act is a true all-of-the-above energy bill that deserves a vote. This would eliminate most of the regulations and mandates on exploration, production and exporting of oil and natural gas. It also eliminates the onerous ethanol mandate, which forces families to pay on average $2,055 more for food every year — all the while enriching special interests.
Republicans will also have an opportunity to stand for consumers against K Street interests by passing a permanent moratorium on all Internet taxation — including the latest scheme to tax online sales across state lines.
Finally, there is nothing more important than protecting individual and religious liberty. As liberals use unelected judges to compel private landowners, businesses and religious institutions to violate their religious conscience, Republicans have a responsibility to pass legislation protecting the citizenry from this growing coercion of the social left.
Americans are fed up with six years of failed policies across the spectrum of issues. Republicans can either head into the presidential election with a bold contrast or play it safe and stand for nothing.
The time for choosing is fast approaching.
Daniel Horowitz is the senior editor of Conservative Review.