Republicans may have pulled off strong victories in the November midterms, but since taking power in Congress, they have been outpaced as their infighting has impeded progress and as the White House has called the shots, Politico reports.
Republicans, over the past three months, have had little success on their legislative agenda, appearing disorganized and unable to get any traction on key issues important to their side, Politico added.
Wrote Politico of the White House's strong position: "The West Wing wish list looks largely the same as it did headed into the year: a spring approval of fast-track authority, criminal justice reform, a new authorization for the use of military force to fight terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, and Loretta Lynch's confirmation as attorney general. Corporate tax reform has faded in many minds, as has talk of new infrastructure funding."
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest acknowledged Obama's strength speaking to reporters last week: "There's no question that frankly the Republican disorganization has put them at a strategic disadvantage in interfacing with the White House and has contributed to this dynamic of the White House being the one — and the only one — that's on offense," he said.
Earnest added that he thinks that the president is in an even stronger position than a year ago and before the Republican majority took hold. He said if Republicans hope to move the ball in Congress, they'll have to build coalitions with Democrats at this point.
"At least the debate in Washington is sharper now that you have a Republican-controlled Congress and Democratic control of the White House, and I think Republicans have had a harder time in the majority than they thought they were going to."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's spokesman also outlined the poor position Republicans find themselves in after pulling out exciting victories last fall, Politico said.
"The Republican agenda is dysfunction, obstruction and distraction, and there is certainly no discernible jobs agenda," her communications director Drew Hammill told Politico.
"What we see over and over again are the same rehashed bills that are either anti-science, anti-governance or anti-Obama."
Writing in The New York Times,
Albert Hunt called Republicans' first three months "an inauspicious start."
"After the party took control of both houses of Congress, expectations for a robust Republican agenda never were realistic, with a Democrat in the White House and fewer than 60 members in the Senate," Hunt wrote in the Times. "If government shutdowns are off the table — and congressional Republicans believe they must be — the party's power over the purse is limited."
Hunt added that to change the current dynamic, the GOP will likely need to "win the presidency next year and retain, even enlarge, their Senate majority."
He noted: "That may depend on this Republican Congress, after a very rocky start, getting something done. Demonstrating they are not protectors of the privileged is not a bad place to begin."
A Gallup poll taken
in early February, the first since Republicans took control of Congress, showed a four percent approval rating increase to 20 percent — up from 16 percent, but still dismal.
The pollsters noted that "in terms of spurring better approval ratings for Congress, the effect of last year's GOP rout has so far been minimal."
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