Well, it’s done. The noise and ruckus of the campaign has stopped. There’s nothing left to do now but govern.For the first time since I’ve been in office, I’m feeling genuinely optimistic that things are turning in the right direction. This country may finally be able to see the House and Senate come together to tackle the nation’s business. First and foremost, I’m hopeful that we can finally see a proper budget crafted, debated, voted on and reconciled. I’m hopeful that based on the outlines of that agreed-upon budget, we can see Congress start considering the various spending bills one-by-one and line-by-line as we are required to do each year by law. I’m hopeful that the various bipartisan jobs bills the House passed will make now be able to make it to the President’s desk after we pass them again in the next Congress. I’m hopeful that we can take on our monstrous tax code and replace it with something simple and effective for families and small businesses. I’m hopeful that we can replace Obamacare with reforms that take the American people’s input into account. I’m hopeful that we can get the Keystone pipeline approved and continue advancing the policies that are pushing gas prices down for everybody. But while I am hopeful that all of these things will take place, there is one thing I don’t have tohope for anymore. There is one thing I know is about to happen – the days of the administration being able to do as it pleased without any meaningful oversight from Congress are gone.Neither the House or Senate will have the 2/3 majority required to override a presidential veto of policy changes – at least not without unlikely votes from Democrats. But where the Senate has given the White House a pass over the last six years, we’re going to take that pass back. Where Congress has collectively allowed the Executive Branch to do as it pleased, we are going to reclaim that power and put it back in the hands of the people’s representatives – as our Founders intended.
I cannot promise that the President and congressional leaders will be able to reach amicable solutions on everything we’d like to get done. The trust and the mutual respect have been seriously damaged over the last few years. But what I can promise is that we will make every effort we can to work out solutions that can pass both the House and Senate. From there, it will be up to the President to decide whether making that progress is worth bending his liberal ideology. It’s hard to guess. He’s been quoted as saying, “without the Senate, I don’t particularly care to be president”. That kind of thing isn’t encouraging and it seems like a pretty and small-minded way to lead a nation. But that’s where he may be in his own head. Who knows? We should get a pretty good picture in the first couple of months of how well this is going to work. For the time being, we’ll have to finish up some year-end business and just wait and see.
At the end of the day, I know where my constituents stand and I have my marching orders ready to go. Congress returns to Washington this week for some organizational business and hopefully some legislating as well. I should have a clearer idea next week what we can expect policy-wise for the remaining weeks of the year. Until then, please keep me posted about what’s on your mind and if there is anything I can do to help move that particular ball forward.