Tags: | Exclusive Interviews | MidPoint | Istook | Republicans

Ex-Rep. Istook: GOP Leaders Already Ignoring Midterm Mandate

By    |   Wednesday, 03 Dec 2014 03:25 PM

By telling their rank-and-file to wait until January to take on President Barack Obama, Republican congressional leaders are already conceding policy wins to a Democratic Party that midterm voters soundly rejected, former Rep. Ernest Istook told Newsmax TV on Wednesday.

"They're saying they want the tough decisions to be made while Republicans are weaker and the Democrats and [outgoing Majority Leader] Harry Reid have full control of the U.S. Senate," Istook, an Oklahoma Republican and a columnist and radio host for The Washington Times, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.

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Republicans in Congress should challenge the White House and Democrats right now in the lame-duck session on an issue that has troubled conservatives, said Istook: the president's Nov. 21 executive decree to grant visas and work permits to millions of immigrants who are in the country illegally.

He said that means using Congress' power of the purse during this month's budget-writing sprint to defund any federal effort to pay for Obama's plan — and standing up to a barrage of criticism if the budget fight triggers another "so-called government shutdown."

"I don't think a shutdown is necessary," said Istook. "But if other spending for federal agencies temporarily lapses, and some people are not able to do their work in the federal government, that's a small price to pay."

He said the alternative is "having millions of people who are here illegally get work permits, take jobs at the expense of Americans" when they're already struggling economically — an outcome he described as "much worse than a so-called government shutdown, which is a misnomer; it's not really a shutdown."

Other political observers have praised House Speaker John Boehner for trying to avoid any repeat of the October 2013 shutdown over the Affordable Care Act, which hurt Republicans in polls.

Boehner, over conservative objections, is pushing a symbolic vote against the immigration order during this month's budget negotiations, and a selective cut to funds for the Department of Homeland Security — the agency carrying out the president's plan.

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Opponents of a shutdown now argue that Republicans will have more leverage later — in a matter of weeks, when they control both chambers.

Istook said that means letting "tough decisions be made on liberal Democrat terms rather than standing up for the things the voters voted for in this election."

"Voters didn't vote to extend the time that Harry Reid is in charge; they voted to cut it off as quick as they can," he said.

Istook also questioned the value of incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's trying to negotiate with Obama.

"Have you ever tried to get along with somebody who just wasn't willing to yield, and was harsh, strident, condemnatory?" he said. "That's what Barack Obama is. That's the problem."

Istook said that a key question is, "How much courage do Republicans have to stand up and take a beating from the liberal media in order to stop President Obama's wayward amnesty program that would give jobs to millions of illegals at the expense of Americans?"

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By telling their rank-and-file to wait until January to take on President Barack Obama, Republican congressional leaders are already conceding policy wins to a Democrat Party that midterm voters soundly rejected, former U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook of Oklahoma told Newsmax TV on Wednesday.
Istook, Republicans
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2014-25-03
Wednesday, 03 Dec 2014 03:25 PM
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