Tags: MidPoint | Pete Hoekstra | John Boehner | Mitch McConnell

Pete Hoekstra: GOP Congress Facing Skeptical Country

By    |   Wednesday, 31 December 2014 03:49 PM

Republicans holding the reins in both chambers of Congress need to remember that Americans still loathe the D.C. political establishment, and the only way to overcome the antipathy is to "get things done" and pressure the White House to cooperate, former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra tells Newsmax TV.

"Republicans have to assume that the American people are going to be skeptical," Hoekstra, a Michigan Republican and former House Intelligence chairman, told "MidPoint" guest host Ric Blackwell on Wednesday.

"They hate Washington, they hate politicians and they've been disappointed by them."

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But Hoekstra was upbeat about Congress under all-Republican management for the first time in eight years, saying there are bills that can secure veto- and filibuster-proof bipartisan majorities — and force President Barack Obama to play along or risk looking like the enemy of progress.

"They've been passing stuff through the House for the last four years," Hoekstra said of Republicans under House Speaker John Boehner. "Now, what they're going to do is they're going to have an opportunity to pass stuff through the Senate.

"They're going to get off to a good start," said Hoekstra. "[Incoming Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell has indicated they're going to start with [the] Keystone [XL oil pipeline]. Democrats will vote for that. They'll get to the 60 votes necessary to get past a filibuster."

Hoekstra predicted that after symbolic votes in both chambers to repeal the Affordable Care Act — the president's prize achievement — the party will bring up substantive bills that make incremental changes to the health law and look for Democrat support.

"The table is kind of set," said Hoekstra. "There's a number of issues where they can get to 60 votes in the Senate, put stuff on the president's desk, let him be the person that, if nothing gets done in Washington, he's the one responsible."

He said the areas of opportunity for constructive deal-making with Democrats are "anything to do with the economy: Keystone, tax reform, and rolling back rules and regulations to make business be more competitive on a global basis."

By 2016 a skeptical public could find itself pleasantly surprised by how productive Washington is with Republicans running Congress, said Hoekstra, who compared Boehner and McConnell to the GOP tandem of Rep. Newt Gingrich and Sen. Trent Lott during the Clinton administration.

With Obama already challenging Republicans in Congress to prove they can "responsibly" govern,  Hoekstra said that, in fact, "the pressure is going to move to the White House as to whether the president can actually govern and get things done."

Turning to the 2016 presidential race, Hoekstra demurred at handicapping a large and growing field, except to say "the race is wide open."

"There's lots of great governors around. There's good people in the U.S. Senate," said Hoekstra.

"Hopefully, it's going to be a very positive, constructive campaign between a number of these candidates to show the American people that Republicans have ideas, Republicans can govern, they've gotten things done at the state level, and they will demonstrate over the next two years that they will get things done at the federal level," he said. "The table is set for Republicans to win the White House in 2016."

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Republicans holding the reins in both chambers of Congress need to remember that the only way to overcome antipathy is to "get things done" and pressure the White House to cooperate, former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra tells Newsmax TV.
Pete Hoekstra, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 03:49 PM
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