(NationalSentinel) If it sounds like we’ve been here before - the ‘mainstream’ media attempting to whipÂ Trump supporters into a frenzy over the “slow pace of congressional action” on a number of promised legislative priorities -Â we have. Like, about a week ago.
Here we are again, just days later, with more headlines questioning whether the Trump agenda has alreadyÂ stalled because, you know, all those (ginned up) scandals with former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, all that (unsubstantiated) talk about Trump administration officials being inÂ secret contact with Russian intelligence,Â blah, blah, blah…
Congress is off to a slow start this year, and Republicans are starting to get nervous.
The Senate is tied up with delays in confirming President Donald Trumpâ€™s cabinet, the House is spending most of its time undoing regulations from the end of the previous presidentâ€™s term, and a promised swift repeal of Obamacare is stalled.
“Is there some concern? Yes.Â Is it a panic stage? No,” said North Carolina Representative Mark Walker, chairman of the 170-member Republican Study Committee.
Less than a month into Barack Obamaâ€™s first term, he had already signed into law a measure extending health insurance to 4.1 million more U.S. children, a $787 billion economic stimulus package and legislation making it easier for employees to challenge wage discrimination. By contrast, Trump has signed legislation rolling back anÂ Obama-era rule on energy companiesâ€™ disclosures, a law related to the Government Accountability Officeâ€™s ability to access certain records and a waiver allowing his defense secretary to be confirmed.
Now, whyÂ would a GOP-controlled Congress be off to a “slow start” this year? Is it because theyÂ really don’tÂ want to do the things they campaigned on, like repeal and replace Obamacare and enact major tax reforms for corporationsÂ andÂ individuals?
That’s a possibility forÂ someÂ Republicans, but the majority - especially in the House - are champing at the bit to get these legislative priorities done. The reason why theyÂ can’t yet is obvious, and Bloomberg hit upon it briefly:Â Democrats in the SenateÂ continue their unprecedented obstructionism holding up Trump’s Cabinet picks - something RepublicansÂ did notÂ do to President Obama during his first weeks in office.
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Also, roguesÂ within the Intelligence Community have also done their best to keep the White House off-balance and reactionary. PerÂ Bloomberg:
Complicating matters, Republicans are getting ambushed almost every day by the news blitz from the Trump White House, particularly the revelations that intelligence agencies and the FBI are examining the extent of contacts Trumpâ€™s advisers had with Russia during and after the 2016 campaign. Calls for Congress to more exhaustively look into Russiaâ€™s involvement in the elections could further slow the policy agenda, lawmakers say.
â€œIt is a distraction,â€ said Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, adding that it takes the focus off other important issues like overhauling the tax code. â€œIt takes away from other efforts. We have a job to do here, itâ€™s important and it matters to people. Thereâ€™s no question that all the activity around Russia right now is a distraction.â€
But all of this Russia noise is just thatÂ - noiseÂ - designed to distract, delay and delegitimize a president who has dared to criticizeÂ some of the failures of the bloated, costly and top-heavy U.S. intelligence community. There are lots of allegations flying around, appearing almost daily in the Washington media, butÂ no hard evidence or data to supportÂ any of the allegations. Then again, that’s the point; where there’s (manufactured) smoke, thereÂ has to be fire, right?
Leading figures in the conservative movementÂ have taking to sniping the GOP majority from the sidelines, and while that may help keep them focused on legislative priorities, it won’t necessarily get Congress movingÂ any faster -Â because Democrats, especially in the Senate, will continue to bog down the processes.
More helpful would be for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to dig into that Senate playbook he’s very familiar with and come up with some way to navigate around the opposition, get Trump’s full Cabinet in place, thenÂ plow forward with Obamacare repeal/replace and the tax cuts Trump went out and sold to U.S. companies that decided to trust him and keep some of their jobs in the U.S.
Going on offense instead of continually playing the Democrats’ game and remaining on defense is never a good position to be in.