Tags: Halper | Senate | Republican | Schumer

Journalist Halper Looks at GOP Agenda

By    |   Monday, 01 Dec 2014 07:50 AM

Daniel Halper, online editor of The Weekly Standard, appeared on C-SPAN's Washington Journal Nov. 30 to talk about the Republican legislative agenda for the forthcoming lame-duck session of Congress and the Republican Congress that will begin in January.

The discussion took place against the background of a complicated political landscape that includes nearly symmetrical primary contests for president and an effort by Republicans to make the best case that they can govern during what looks like a two-year lease on the Senate.

Some Democrats ran this year on promises to work with Republicans as they sought to distance themselves from the unpopular president. A subplot is the inchoate campaign by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to become Majority Leader if the Democrats retake the Senate and current Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., whose elections are always "too close to call," should lose in 2016.

Halper was interviewed by the iconic Sunday host Steve Scully, who immediately mentioned that Halper is the author of the new book Clinton, Inc. Scully noted that the first priority for the returning Congress is the expiration of the current budget deal on Dec. 11. Halper stated the threshold question is whether to do another short-term continuing resolution or try for a longer-term deal for as long as a year. Also at the top of the agenda is how to respond to the action the Obama White House took on immigration while Congress was away.

Scully then cited a quote from incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that the immigration action has "poisoned the well" regarding possible tax reform. Halper suggested that instead the preemption of immigration by Obama "liberates" Republicans from having to negotiate with the White House over tax reform, so Republicans could send a bill downtown.

Halper added that now that Obama has proclaimed "executive amnesty," he can no longer blame House Republicans for failing to act on the Senate's immigration bill. Asked whether Congress would be more productive with Reid out of the picture, Halper predicted that some of the House bills the Reid Senate would not consider would now be passed and sent to the White House.

Scully played a clip from Schumer's speech to the National Press Club criticizing the White House for putting too much emphasis on healthcare and not enough on the economy. Schumer said pointedly that the Affordable Care Act "wasn't the change we were hired to make." Halper sees this as a "splintering" of the Democratic coalition as the party seeks to remake itself for 2016.

In further discussion of his book, Halper said that the Clintons have come back from the impeachment stronger than ever and that the public image of their personalities is the reverse of what he found, so that in fact, Hillary is the more gregarious and Bill the more calculating.

Halper alluded to discussions with congressional staffers who are preparing an ambitious agenda for the early months of 2015.

This writer would observe that House Republicans have spent a lot of time laying the groundwork for another round of legislation designed to benefit emerging-growth companies and for proposals to tweak or roll back the Dodd-Frank Act. Democrats protested most of these ideas but voted for some of them. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., who is likely to become Senate Banking Committee chairman, has two years left to serve, so there will be a two-year window to see if now that the Republicans control both Houses of Congress, they can legislate on economic issues.

Perhaps a new Shelby-Schumer coalition has been born.

(Archived video can be found here.)

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Robert-Feinberg
Daniel Halper, online editor of The Weekly Standard, appeared on C-SPAN's Washington Journal Nov. 30 to talk about the Republican legislative agenda for the forthcoming lame-duck session of Congress and the Republican Congress that will begin in January.
Halper, Senate, Republican, Schumer
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2014-50-01
Monday, 01 Dec 2014 07:50 AM
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