The New GOP Congress’s First 100 Days Doesn’t Look Good
While the rest of us take down our holiday decorations, newly elected Congressional Republicans are hanging decorations in their new Capital Hill offices. Now with control of both the House and the Senate, the GOP is kicking off the year with a list of priorities that are sure to please right-wing extremists and special interests. Let’s take a look at a few things to expect in the first 100 days of the 114th Congress, now that the GOP controls the House and the Senate:
Keystone XL Pipeline
Instead of tackling climate change head-on and focusing their efforts on investments in clean and renewable energy, Republicans are looking to pass a bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline within the next few weeks. Building the Keystone pipeline threatens America’s credibility as a climate leader and would create only 35 permanent jobs.
Despite the near-constant evidence that the Affordable Care Act is working, Republicans will only double down on their opposition now that they control both chambers of Congress. One of the first things they’ve pledged to do is pass a repeal bill that they know the President will veto. And while they’ve promised to try to repeal the ACA, they still don’t have any semblance of a replacement. Instead, they’re waiting on the Supreme Court to hear a case in March that, if the Court rules the wrong way, could effectively take affordable health care away from millions of Americans.
Department of Homeland Security: After removing most of the Department of Homeland Security’s budget from last year’s budget deal, Republicans now have to figure out how to fund the department and please their far-right anti-immigrant base. Expect proposals opposing President Obama’s immigration executive action and cracking down on child migrants looking to reunite with their family.
Debt ceiling: The next debt ceiling deadline is March 15. As economy improves and confidence rebuilds, will GOP brinksmanship again threaten economic collapse?
Despite these priorities, what’s Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) goal in this session of Congress? Don’t be scary. “I don’t want the American people to think that if they add a Republican president to a Republican Congress, that’s going to be a scary outcome,” McConnell told the Washington Post. Meanwhile: Congressional Republicans, from leadership to freshmen, have closed ranks behind the House’s number 3, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), in light of reports that Scalise addressed a white supremacist group headed by a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan in 2002.
The GOP not only took over the U.S. Senate in 2014, the party also gained record majorities in state legislatures across the country. That appears to be leading to widespread GOP plans to wage wars against labor and workers, women’s reproductive health, education reform and clean power regulations.
BOTTOM LINE: The first 100 days of the new Congress is a marker for the priorities of the new GOP leadership. And from the looks of it so far, that means more attacks on working people, more favors for special interests, and more catering to the extreme right-wing.
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