The new Congress begins its work amid two contrasting value systems: the president's desire to firm up his legacy as his second terms grinds on, and GOP lawmakers and their leadership, eager to remedy a political vision that they believe has harmed the nation, Politico reports
of the divide on Capitol Hill.
Noted Politico's David Rogers of the dilemma: "The concentration of power and hostility toward the president is real and complicates not just Obama’s life but that of the Republican committee chairs coming to power in the Senate. Must these chairs wait for the president to leave and sacrifice accomplishments in this Congress? Or can they jump into these waters while they still have time in their own lives to get things done — even if it means getting his signature?"
The push and pull is marked among pundits, some urging the GOP to strike out independently and others urging that real leadership requires compromise. Politico compared and contrasted the players who occupied key Congressional posts — now versus when the Reagan era ushered in a wave of GOP power in the 97the Congress after years of Democrat rule.
Today's leadership is older and more Southern, Politico noted. While Bob Dole at 57 chaired the Senate Finance Committee decades earlier, its chair today is Orrin Hatch who is 80. Similarly, the Senate Banking Committee is chaired by an 80-year-old Richard Shelby and the Environment and Public Works Committee is led by Richard Inhofe, also 80, while the elder statesman among Senate leaders in the 114th Congress is Iowa's Chuck Grassley, who heads the Judiciary at a fit 81.
“Taking over the Senate this time is a little bit different from when Republicans took it over in the past,” Grassley noted of 2015's GOP wave. He blamed Harry Reid for ushering in the current era of partisan division.
“He ran the Senate differently than Mitchell and Byrd and Daschle. It was a very much a deliberative body under them,” Grassley told Politico or past leadership. So if there was anything that is going to be different starting January the 6th, it is the Senate is going to be a deliberative body. Extended debate, seldom-use of filling the amendment tree or filing cloture motions and both Republicans and Democrats offering amendments to do what the Senate is meant to do.”
Grassley remained optimistic, even as he and colleagues anticipated the president's strategy ahead in facing what USA Today
described as Obama's "new political world."
Among those big-ticket items
on the table early were a vote on the Keystone XL pipeline, revisions to Obamacare, funds allocated for immigration reform, fast-tracking trade agreements and a way forward on foreign policy directed at Iran and also Cuba, Mashable noted.
“Take it a day at a time,” Grassley told Politico of his philosophy at the outset in setting a new tone. “There are some things that are going to have some bipartisan support and it seems to me that we ought to work on those early and see what we can get done that we can do in a bipartisan way.”
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