Where is the Republican Agenda?

For Immediate Release:

June 5, 2017

Contact:

Mariel Saez 202-225-3130

With control of both chambers of Congress and the White House, Republicans have a responsibility to lead and get things done on behalf of the American people. Yet, nearly halfway through the year, Republicans have virtually no legislative accomplishments to tout.

Among other failures, President Trump and Congressional Republicans have still not:

  • Put forward an infrastructure bill or a single jobs bill;
  • Passed a budget resolution;
  • Started the appropriations process;
  • Introduced comprehensive tax reform;
  • Ensured that America pays its bills;
  • Or put forward a strategy to deal with national security challenges around the world.

The press and the American people are taking note:

Washington Post: Trump is finding it easier to tear down old policies than to build his own

“[Trump] and his fellow Republicans have made little progress in building an affirmative agenda of their own, a dynamic that will be on display when Congress returns this week with few major policies ready to advance.”

“After being the ‘party of no’ during the Obama years, Republicans are trying to figure out what they want to achieve in this unexpected Trump era — beyond just rolling back what Obama did.”

Associated Press: GOP running out of time for legislative achievements

“President Donald Trump and his GOP allies on Capitol Hill have made it through nearly half their first year in power without a single major legislative achievement.”

“For now, the party’s marquee agenda items remain undone, their fate uncertain. The long-promised effort to overturn former President Barack Obama’s health law hangs in limbo in the Senate after barely passing the House. A tax overhaul that’s a top Trump priority is unwritten and in dispute, despite his recent claim on Twitter that it’s ahead of schedule.”

Politico: Senate Republicans fear ‘train wreck’ in September

“Instead of focusing on a bipartisan spending deal to avert the blunt impending budget cuts of sequestration and lift the debt ceiling, the GOP Congress has been cranking away at a partisan agenda of tax cutting, repealing Obamacare and rolling back Obama-era regulations. Republicans aren’t yet close on health care and have barely started on taxes, though GOP leaders insist that a vote on an Obamacare repeal measure will occur before August.”

“Concerns are rising in Washington that Congress may be headed toward the economic and political disaster of a debt default and a government shutdown later this year….”

In Congress, Republicans have spent the majority of their time passing legislation to roll back protections for workers, consumers, investors, teachers and students, the environment, and others. They used the Congressional Review Act to nullify 14 rules that keep Americans safe. From the Washington Post:

“If Trump and Republicans had not reversed these rules, then:

  • Companies applying for federal contracts would have had to disclose their labor violations;
  • Coal mines would have had to reduce the amount of debris dumped into streams;
  • Telecommunications companies would have had to take ‘reasonable measures’ to protect their customers’ personal information;
  • Individuals receiving Social Security payments for disabling mental illnesses would have been added to a list of those not allowed to buy guns;
  • States would have been limited in the drug-testing they could perform on those receiving unemployment insurance benefits;
  • Certain hunting practices would not have been allowed on national wildlife refuges in Alaska; and
  • States could have set up retirement savings plans for those who don’t have the option at work.”

It’s clear that Republicans in the House and Senate continue to be deeply divided on their agenda. Here’s a look at what some of them are saying after five months of inaction:

Senator John McCain (R-AZ): “The fact is I’m disappointed…Everything piles up, we go to the edge of the cliff, shut down the government, then we have an omnibus or a continuing resolution where we can vote yes or no. No amendments, no improvements, nothing.” [Politico, 6/5/17]

Senator David Perdue (R-GA): “When are we going to do the appropriations? We’re not talking about that… How can I go home and work the state in August when we’re still sitting here with that yet to be done?” [Politico, 6/5/17]

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “I’m very frustrated ... we’re going to do all these things by Sept. 30? Give me a break. We’re going to cut taxes, pass health care, set aside sequestration? …We should have an agenda. We know we’re not going to pass a budget with sequestration caps. I’m not.” [Politico, 6/5/17]

Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE): “Asked during a recent interview for a Politico podcast what the Republican Party stands for now, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) responded: ‘I don’t know.’” [Washington Post, 6/4/17]

Senator John Thune (R-SD): He “called the progress so far in the Senate ‘obviously sort of a mixed bag.’” [Politico, 6/5/17]

Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA): “For some Republicans, their sights are set on the more immediate and necessary tasks of completing the annual spending bills that are needed to avert a government shutdown when the budget year ends Sept. 30, and on raising the debt ceiling to avert a first-ever default.  ‘It’ll be more difficult than it should be,’ said GOP Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania...” [Associated Press, 6/5/17]

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