Tags: Exclusive Interviews | MidPoint | Ted Cruz | 2015 Congress | Rep. Ryan Zinke

Rep.-Elect Zinke: 'No Excuses' for Next Congress to Fail

By    |   Monday, 15 Dec 2014 02:54 PM

Republicans with majorities in both chambers of Congress next year will have "no excuses" and nobody to blame but themselves for any legislative or political failures in dealing with the Democrats and President Barack Obama, Rep.-elect Ryan Zinke of Montana told Newsmax TV on Monday.

"This is an opportunity . . . to show leadership, and that leadership is going to have to be to exercise our congressional constitutional authority," incoming freshman Zinke, a former state senator and retired Navy SEAL commander, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner. "And there's no excuses."

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Zinke said that once Democrats give up control of the Senate in January, Republican leaders on Capitol Hill will no longer have obstruction by Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada — the outgoing majority leader — as an alibi.

It will be on the new majority leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, to get legislation passed that will push the president back on issues where the executive has overreached, said Zinke.

Zinke acknowledged that Republicans appear "split" in the lame-duck session winding down under Democratic control of the Senate.

But he said the rift between GOP leaders and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas — who angered colleagues by forcing a rare weekend session on the chamber with his objections to immigration funding — was a product of Cruz's bucking the system, which is sometimes necessary. 

"You can judge whether it's a plus or minus . . . but at the end of the day his points need to be heard," said Zinke.

He said the greater risk is if sharp disagreements between GOP congressional leaders and rank-and-file lawmakers persist into the next Congress.

"This last election wasn't necessarily about 'everyone wants to be a Republican,'" said Zinke.

What voters did, he said, was to assert that the country is headed in the wrong direction, and to give Republicans "the opportunity — the ball, if you will."

"We have to bring the ball up the field, and do what we say we're going to do, and that's address the challenges that face this country," said Zinke. "You can't hide from an $18 trillion debt. You can't hide from an immigration policy. You can't hide from tax reform or education reform.

"These are serious challenges, but I'm an optimist," he said. "This Congress is actually going to get the ball up the field. I understand the risk of not doing anything, and ultimately, we're going to show that we do have the leadership and the resolve to get things done."

"Again, there is no hiding in the 114th Congress coming up," said Zinke.

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Zinke also discussed the hostage crisis in Sydney, Australia, that was reportedly instigated by a radical Islamist with a criminal past.

"The first responsibility of the government is to protect its citizens, and clearly we're in full retreat overseas," said Zinke. "Our allies no longer trust us, our enemies no longer fear us and . . . this is what happens when America doesn't lead.

"No nation is capable of leading other than the United States of America," he said, "and what we're seeing is a dismantling of our leadership overseas, and it has consequences both overseas and here at home."

He called last week's Senate Intelligence Committee report on harsh interrogation tactics "partisan" and noted that its critics include a former Democrat senator and decorated military veteran, Bob Kerrey of Nebraska.

"They're not taking random people off the streets," Zinke said of CIA counter-terrorism operatives. "This is thousands of hours of . . . intelligence gathering."

He said that harsh interrogation techniques come about when "we know something's going to happen, and we need to protect our country and our citizens, and when we know that an individual has information that's critical to protect lives.

"Then, all available means," he said. "Because the consequence of not doing anything is 9/11."

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Republicans with majorities in both chambers of Congress next year will have "no excuses," and nobody to blame but themselves, for any legislative or political failures in dealing with the Democrats and President Barack Obama, Rep.-elect Ryan Zinke of Montana told Newsmax TV on Monday.
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Monday, 15 Dec 2014 02:54 PM
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