The incoming 112th Congress has a lot of work to do… and several important things to undo. President Obama has already used his first weekly radio address of the new year to declare Democrats and Republicans have a “shared responsibility to move this country forward.” On the contrary, the Republicans have a duty to make 2011 the year America finds its reverse gear. Here are four terrible ideas from the recent past that our new Congress should swiftly work to undo:
1. ObamaCare: This is the big one, the nightmare voters expect the Republican House to rescue them from. Interviewed on Fox News Sunday, incoming House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R-Michigan) said he expects a vote on repeal to come before Obama’s next State of the Union address in a few weeks. He thinks it will earn “significant bipartisan support,” but it’s unlikely the measure will earn the two-thirds majority it needs to withstand a presidential veto.
Republicans should hold the repeal vote anyway. Make Obama use his veto pen, in defiance of the clear wishes of the American people. Make it clear he is an insurmountable obstacle to repeal, which voters will soon have a chance to remove. Every Democrat should spend every day on the defensive about this horrific bill. Within a few months, they should look visibly frightened when the subject is raised on weekend talk shows.
Rescuing America from the ObamaCare nightmare will require initiative. The Democrats should never be allowed to regain it. This bill produces new horror stories every week. Republicans should enthusiastically relay those stories to the voters, so they understand exactly what has been done to them, and who is responsible.
The first vote to repeal ObamaCare may be largely symbolic, but I wouldn’t entirely rule out a subsequent vote succeeding. The smarter Democrats know this thing is an albatross around their necks, and the unconstitutionality of the individual mandate will cause the whole mess to begin unraveling anyway. They might be grateful for an opportunity to dump it by the end of 2011, and hope the voters have moved on to other issues by 2012.
2. Net Neutrality: Slipped into the chaos of the holiday season by three FCC commissioners, this appalling power grab will interfere with free expression, gum up the works of the Internet, and stifle vitally needed capital investment. It’s deeply unpopular with voters, with 54% opposed in a recent Rasmussen poll, while only 21% approve.
Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) has already declared his intention to slip a choke chain on the FCC, by promoting legislation to “ensure that the FCC can only use its rulemaking powers where there is clear evidence of a harmful market failure,” combined with “the accountability of a Congressional vote before any government agency’s proposed major regulations may be finalized.”
DeMint should forge ahead with these plans, even if the courts strike down Net Neutrality. America has no further need of unelected commissars who roam the land in search of “problems” they can solve by expanding their own authority. The FCC, in its present form, should not survive the Net Neutrality fiasco.
3. The Clean Air Act: Another little Christmas surprise from the Obama Administration was a set of greenhouse gas regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, which needs to feel the cold iron of Jim DeMint’s accountability legislation around its throat even more than the FCC. The “cap-and-trade” scheme of socking the energy industry with massive new taxes, in the name of the increasingly deranged global-warming religion, was defeated in Congress… but the EPA dug it from its shallow grave, and released it to stalk the land, murdering every job that crosses its path.
Governor Rick Perry of Texas has already vowed to hunt this monster down and put a stake through its heart. Fred Upton has been sharpening his own stake, calling the regulations “unconstitutional” and urging Congress to overturn them. This would also be a good time to knock a few zeroes off the EPA’s budget. Put them in a building powered entirely by “green” energy sources, like solar panels and windmills. We’ll hardly ever hear from them again, aside from a wave of press releases on sunny, windy days.
4. The Offshore Drilling Ban: Obama’s panicked and senseless drilling moratorium is costing us “75,000 jobs, $91 billion in government revenue, and 900,000 barrels of oil per day,” according to the Republican House Natural Resources Committee. It’s locked us into a death spiral toward five-dollar-per-gallon gasoline, which will be a hammer blow to an already weak economy. Polls show a substantial majority opposed to the ban, with a December Rasmussen poll revealing 54% of voters feel it will be bad for the economy.
This is another Obama disaster that might be erased by court decisions, but meanwhile, House Republicans should dig in their heels and make lifting the ban a condition for dealing with the White House on other topics. Pin this thing to Obama’s chest until it hurts enough for him to call it off. Make sure Americans see his face in the blur of numbers on their gas pumps.
A nervous White House has been trying to reinforce flagging liberal support by boasting of its “victories” over the past two years. The top item on the American agenda is pulling those sharp “victories” out of our backs. When Democrats chatter about “progress,” Republicans should say they’re all in favor of progress for the American people… and that will require quite a bit of regression for our imploding government.