Here we are, almost March, with GOP control of the White House and Congress and yet, there isn’t a peep coming from anyone. Anne Coulter, a prominent Trump supporter, has called them “The Silence of the Lambs Congress.” Republicans have spent the last eight years railroading against Democrats in both Houses. Republicans now have the chance to push some real change through that will almost certainly get a signature from Trump as it only serves to fulfill his campaign promises to the American people.
The lack of action from our Congress though is an ominous sign that there are steel bastions blocking the beachhead that leads to Congressional honor and glory. Conservatives such as Matt Drudge (The Drudge Report) and Sean Hannity (Fox News) are restless with the lack of action taking place right now. The first 100 days of a presidency are analyzed and scrutinized for success or failure, but an indication of the challenge ahead of both the House and Senate, Ryan and McConnell have set a 200-day mark. Not only are we getting an unconventional “throw the rules out” President, we’re now getting a Congress that is lowering the bar.
Congress’s wish list begins with passing a budget, reforming the tax code and repealing and replacing ObamaCare (Affordable Care Act). With all three issues being divisive, the next six weeks are key; the House plans to be in session for five of those six weeks and the Senate is scheduled to only take a short two-day break. At the end of March, it will be painfully clear to all that the Trump agenda is moving along swiftly or is hopelessly gridlocked and failing miserably. March could be the one month that creates the narrative for the next four years and potentially decide if Trump goes another four years beyond 2020.
This GOP-controlled Congress has some heavy lifting to do, the polar opposite of what they’ve been doing the last eight years:
- Revamp the entire tax code for the first time in 30 years
- Build a wall that is paid for by Mexico
- Repeal and replace ObamaCare (Affordable Care Act)
Even Steve Bannon, during an appearance at CPAC on February 23rd, said that “Everyday is going to be a fight.” Bannon was pointing to the media in his statement but could easily be talking about all of Washington D.C. and it’s establishment. The establishment seems to be gearing up for war as are the Democrats and the general media. Trump and the WH have made it clear they are ready for anything and are almost anticipating a fight of epic proportions not seen since the Nixon years. All this controversy feeds Trump as he seems to enjoy counter-punching his enemies, similar to his campaign leading up to November last year.
March is going to be the month where the Republican Party can do more than just be an opposition party. Former Speaker John Boehner, pushed out of Congress by the Tea Party, has his doubts:
In the 25 years that I (R-Ohio John Boehner) served in the United States Congress, Republicans never, ever once time agreed on what a health care proposal should look like. Not once.
With a Democratic Party in complete opposition to anything Republican, thanks to an energized liberal base, the road for the GOP-controlled Congress is going to be very bumpy. What incentive is there actually for the Democratic Party at this point to be anything other than oppositional? Earlier in February, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told the Washington Post “Democrats could win back the Senate if Trump’s approval rating is at 35 percent next year.”
Democrats, along with the GOP, appear to be ready to fight the long game. What happens in March will have a far-reaching impact well into 2018 and the mid-term elections.