http://roll.cl/1z0pOiY. This is the link for the Roll Call Interview with Majority Leader Elect Mitch McConnell.
1. Keystone Pipeline - There was a press conference with Majority Leader elect Mitch McConnell, with Roll Call. He intimated that the first item on the agenda for the new congress is a new vote on the Keystone XL Pipeline. This is great news. This pipeline should have been approved years ago. I hope that the pipeline is still viable and will have the maximum impact. This pipeline will create American jobs. Will reduce fuel costs, and start the journey to Energy Independence. It will garner most if not all GOP votes. The measure failed in the Senate by one vote. With 54 votes, the GOP will need 6 more votes to pass the measure. There will be some moderate democrats who will vote for it. The wild card is the threat of a Presidential veto. The GOP does not have veto proof majorities, so we'll see.
2. Executive Amnesty - The Department of Homeland Security budget will run out sometime in late February, early March. The new congress will have the opportunity and leverage to extend funding to the end of the fiscal year. There is no promise from leadership that a defund amnesty rider will be used. This will need to be pushed. It is important and will be important to call your reps and senators to remind them of this unfinished business.
3. Export-Import Bank - The charter for the bank is set to run out in the summer of 2015. I have written blogs on the bank and there is tons of info on it. Bottom line, the GOP needs to let the charter expire. We have statements from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy saying that there is a lot of support in the House for letting it expire. Call your Rep. And Senator and ask them to end the Export-Import Bank.
4. Internet Sales Tax - The Marketplace Fairness Act, unfair really, has passed the Senate. It is in the House now. It did not have enough juice to make it to the floor in the lame duck session. Leadership had enough of a fight with the Omnibus bill. Our own Rep. Renee Ellmers and 29 other House members are co-sponsors. There is a fight brewing here. This must be defeated. There is a extension of the moratorium of the prohibition of the tax for a year. This may buy us some time. Regardless, we need to defeat this job killing, tax increasing bill. Call your Rep. and Senate and tell them to not increase taxes on small online retailers.
5.Obamacare - The Senate and the House GOP are talking about defunding Obamacare though the same process it was passed, reconciliation. This tactic can bypass the needed 60 vote threshold for cloture and only requires a simple majority vote. I feel that the American people are with us. The question will be are the GOP leaders in the House and Senate with us?
There are a lot of other things that will need to be addressed. There a decades of problems that have amassed on our plate and we have to boldly address them.
1. Entitlement Reform
2. Balance the Budget
3. Tax Reform
4. Tort Reform
We do have to accept the reality. We do not have veto proof majorities. A veto, unless we have Democratic's help, will slam the door shut. We also have leadership that has been timid on certain fights. I am not being pessimistic, just realistic. We will need to work together to get these things done. It is natural to feel cynical. I choose not to. I choose to be optimistic. I believe that this new congress is a clean slate and we must work hard to persuade our leaders to implement these common sense reforms. I believe if we, the grassroots, stay informed and engaged, we will be successful.
P.S. I just want to wish all of you out there a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.