The Elections Are Over, Time for Congress to Legislate
November 13, 2014
This month’s election was a historic one for the GOP, which realized its largest majority in the House since 1928 and captured the Senate for the first time since 2006. When the 114th Congress convenes in January, Republicans in the House and Senate have an opportunity to show how they are able to govern. A significant majority in the House means Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and his leadership team have more leeway in finding support for legislative priorities. In the Senate, Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will still have to contend with overcoming the 60 person cloture vote required to end debate on an issue. This means McConnell will have to approach legislation with an eye towards attracting Democratic support.
CapitolWatch views these new majorities in Congress as an opportunity to pass legislation which has languished for some time. Leader McConnell rightly cited tax reform as something which Republican President Reagan was able to accomplish with a Democrat controlled Congress. This is at the top of CW’s list for the 114th Congress to tackle. Our current tax code, which extends to 73,954 pages, is woefully complicated not just for the average American, but for many Members of Congress who use a professional accountant to tax service to prepare their returns. A simplified and restructured tax code that allows Americans to fill out their tax return on a single easy to understand post card should be an attainable goal.
In addition, the 114th Congress will be able to pass a budget and stick to it without the interference of the President. The budget requires a simple majority in the House, as well as the Senate as budget resolutions are not subject to a cloture vote. The FY 2014 Federal Budget Deficit was $483 billion, adding to the nearly $18 trillion in Federal Debt, for which we have no plan for paying back. Balancing the budget and returning to the regular appropriations process would begin to put America on a path to fiscal solvency.
Tax reform and a government running in the black are two large issues to tackle in the coming months, but many more remain on the plate of Congress including foreign trade bills, threats from overseas, and immigration reform. This Congress will have a short window to get to work and accomplish business before being swept up into the 2016 Presidential elections, likely to include Senators from both sides of the aisle. Time is of the essence, and the 114th Congress should waste none of it in sending legislation to President Obama’s desk.