By Heritage Foundation
Jan. 4, 2017
|There’s been a lot of talk about change leading up to this week. Guess what? It’s go time. Republicans campaigned on repealing Obamacare and they won. It’s time to make good on that promise. Unsurprisingly, Democrats are already trying to slam the breaks on the president-elect’s Cabinet picks. But are they just being sore losers? History says yes. Plus, why President Obama’s sanctions on Russia are too little, too late. Conservatives have much to look forward to, but only if we get started in the right direction. Consider this your map.
—Michelle Cordero, Managing Editor, Heritage.org
|Repeal Obamacare now. No excuses.
President-elect Donald Trump has committed to repealing and replacing Obamacare. But here’s the catch: In order to do this, Trump needs Congress to write legislation for him to sign. Congress can and should do this in January, before Inauguration Day. There is no excuse not to. Thousands of Americans have lost their insurance plans or their doctors. They’ve seen their premiums hiked up to unbelievable levels. Seventeen of the original 23 Obamacare insurance co-ops have collapsed. And, of course, there has always been the rotten, unconstitutional core of Obamacare: the federal government forcing citizens to buy a product. Congress has voted over 60 times to repeal all or part of it. They just need to do it one more time. Read Heritage President Jim DeMint’s op-ed and our report on a how to prepare a smooth transition for the repeal of Obamacare.
|Attempts to block nominees won’t work.
If recent history is any guide, the Senate typically gives deference to a new president’s Cabinet picks. Such was the case for Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and even Barack Obama, who had 10 of his nominees confirmed within his first week as president. However, Senate Democrats are vowing to delay or reject at least eight Trump picks for major Cabinet appointments. At the top of their list is Trump’s choice for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions. Sessions’ confirmation hearing is scheduled for Jan. 10, just 10 days before Trump is sworn in as president. Heritage’s Rachel Bovard says conservatives should feel confident about the confirmation process since Democrats can do little to ultimately derail nominees (due to lack of votes). But they can still use various procedural maneuvers to delay the process. Among them: failing to show up to a committee meeting so that a quorum is not present, and on the Senate floor, prolonging debate for up to 30 additional hours.
|Russia sanctions are too little, too late.
Last week, in response to evidence that Russia hacked Democratic Party officials during the presidential election, the Obama administration imposed sanctions on the Russian intelligence community and expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the United States. While these actions are welcome, they are too little, too late, says Luke Coffey, director of Heritage’s Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy. As our 2017 Index of U.S. Military Strength states, Russia seeks to maximize its strategic position in the world at the expense of the United States. Russia also maintains incredibly advanced cyberwarfare capabilities and the overall threat is aggressive and formidable. Any future efforts to investigate the extent of Russia’s actions by Congress and the White House must be independent, bipartisan, and thorough. Read more about the threat from Russia and our report on a comprehensive strategy to Russia.by Heritage Foundation