Former Sen. Majority Leader Trent Lott, R.-Mississippi, said Monday that the Republican Party does not need a civil war, it needs to pivot to a positive agenda that all Republicans can rally around. He made the remarks in an interview with the PBS Newshour.
Lott was reacting to Republican elder and former Reagan strategist Richard Viguerie who told The New York Times,
"It's civil war in the GOP."
"It is tougher than it used to be to hold the party together," Lott acknowledged.
Obamacare opponents "fought the good fight, now what are they going to do?" he challenged.
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Republicans need to focus on growth, quit attacking each other and "pivot now to what is a positive agenda that Republicans believe in."
Republicans all agree on the need to control the size of the federal government and spending. "It's out of control." If he were still in the Senate he would have voted to defund Obamacare though he would have opposed the tactics wielded against the plan as unwise.
Republicans should focus on what the party can do to help the economy grow.
Saying he was a conservative before many of today's conservative lawmakers were born, "I admit to a philosophy of trying to get things done."
Republicans could begin by calling attention to the "really big news in America today" that "we have surpassed Russia as the number one energy producing country in the world," Lott said.
"Why not take up a major energy bill" that deals with jobs and national security.
He said, "It's not enough to just say 'no' to Obamacare. I'd like to repeal it, but it's not going to be repealed so long as the senate Democrats are in charge and Obama is in White House."
Lott would now take a bipartisan approach. "President Obama mentioned the need to do a farm bill and some people sneered at that. As a matter of fact the farm bill has a lot of reform in it. It reduces the amount of subsidies paid and reforms food stamps," Lott said.
Lott also called on Republicans to support a House bill, the Water Resources Development Act, that would target spending on specific infrastructure needs such as bridges, ports and sewers that are crumbling. "This bill would create jobs" and because it allocates money for specific projects it would not turn into "some slush fund."
Republicans lawmakers should come together to develop a positive agenda. They should ask themselves besides Obamacare: What are they for and what programs would they pursue if they were in the majority? And that's the agenda they should follow at this time, he advised.
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