Tags: | Tea Party | Ted Cruz | GOP | midterms | Senate | House

Big GOP Win in Midterms Could Lead to Turmoil in Party

By    |   Thursday, 30 Oct 2014 01:15 PM

Conservatives are pushing Republican leaders to play hardball with President Barack Obama and his agenda after Election Day if the GOP takes control of the Senate, but the party may have to cooperate with the president more than people on the right would prefer.

"People want to see a bold vision," an unnamed GOP conservative aide told The Hill. "They want to see a real fight on ObamaCare repeal and tax reform that takes a blowtorch to the tax code. They want to see real entitlement reform, not empty talk.

"The American people don’t want Republicans to become appeasers and supporters of a watered down Obama agenda.”

But House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — who expects to become the chamber's majority leader if he defeats Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes in his Kentucky re-election bid — will also face pressure to push bills through, which will mean cooperation with the White House.

In addition, Republicans will have to defend 24 seats in just two years, with Democrats defending just 10. Many of those Republicans are from states like New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois, where Democrats could have the advantage of bringing out the votes in a presidential election year.

Meanwhile, the House could see as many as 40 new faces after the Nov. 4 election, and prominent conservative GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio says he expects to see more like-minded lawmakers come to Washington.

Some of those include Republicans Barry Loudermilk and Jody Hice, Georgia; Mark Walker, North Carolina; Gary Palmer, Alabama; John Ratcliffe, Texas; and Dave Brat of Virginia.

And one of the major battle cries, to repeal Obamacare, likely won't happen as long as Obama remains in office, McConnell warned this week.

"Well, it would take 60 votes in the Senate — nobody thinks we're going to have 60 Republicans — and it would take a presidential signature, and no one thinks we're going to get that,” he told Fox News host Neil Cavuto. "So the question is: What can you do about it?"

McConnell's suggestion that Republicans go after some of the more unpopular parts of the
law, rather than the whole thing, is angering some conservatives.

"This is why nobody believes Mitch McConnell anymore," said Ken Cuccinelli, president of the Senate Conservatives Fund. "He says he wants to rip ObamaCare out root and branch but then flips days before his election and says he plans to surrender."

Cuccinelli insisted that instead of the 60 votes McConnell cites, a Republican Senate could repeal Obamacare through budget reconciliation, which requires a simple majority of 51 votes.

Even so, Obama would likely veto a repeal effort on his legacy legislation, and Congress would still need to come up with a two-thirds vote from the House and Senate to override the veto.

Instead of larger measures, McConnell and Boehner are more likely to fight for approving the Keystone XL pipeline and repealing the Obamacare medical device tax. Further, they're expected to move trade legislation, reports The Hill.

While Obama can be seen as signing those measures, McConnell and Boehner are likely to work to avoid another government shutdown over Obamacare or funding for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programs.

More staunch conservatives are already accusing Boehner and McConnell of wasting Americans' time with the smaller measures, and they could face a backlash from people like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a likely candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, who is pushing them to take a stronger stance.

Cruz could be backed in his push if other potential conservative senators such as Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton, Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst, and Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan win their bids on Tuesday.

"If all they do is keep their campaign promises, we’re going to be in very good shape because they’re all running as unabashed conservatives, and one of their top priorities is repealing Obamacare," said another conservative Senate GOP aide of the three.

Nebraska Senate candidate Ben Sasse will also likely take Cruz' side, as he has already challenged McConnell to "show some actual leadership."

However, there are many centrists running as well, and if they win could push back against the conservatives' cries for more action, the aide told The Hill.

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Conservatives are pushing Republican leaders to play hardball with President Barack Obama and his agenda after Election Day if the GOP takes control of the Senate, but the party may have to cooperate with the president more than people on the right would prefer.
GOP, midterms, Senate, House, conservatives
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2014-15-30
Thursday, 30 Oct 2014 01:15 PM
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