Most people who helped elect Donald Trump as president thought the swamp in Washington, D.C. would drain quickly. Boy, were we mistaken. Let’s be clear, the election of Donald Trump was and is a historic moment in American history. November 8, 2016 proved to be a day when the American electorate largely rejected the Washington establishment.
For decades, Washington has been driven by career politicians and lifelong bureaucrats who are more concerned about personal enrichment and special interest groups rather than working for the American people. From the sixteen departments or offices under the authority of the president, each has hundreds, often thousands of employees. The Office of Personnel Management reported that the executive branch employed over 2 million individuals in fiscal year 2015. Many of these employees are unelected bureaucrats. A small percentage of Washington is elected representatives.
Ultimately, the responsibility for the problems in our nation’s capital rests solely in our hands. The hands of the American electorate. We, the people, continue reelecting folks who don’t keep their word. Specifically I’m referring to Republicans. Year after year Republican politicians campaign in their home district and state on very conservative ideals. Consider some of the campaign talking points during the previous administration. While President Obama was in office Republicans campaigned on securing our southern border, repealing Obamacare, and passing tax reform. Each of these are noble goals. Largely because of their conservative campaign promises, the American people elected Republicans to lead both chambers of Congress and the White House.
Yet six months into this Republican majority, little has been done when it comes to passing meaningful legislation. Yes, it is true that President Trump has done much good for America through various executive actions. He has appointed Neil Gorsuch, a constitutional judge to the Supreme Court. President Trump has also installed an excellent Cabinet to lead each executive agency. Congress has pulled back some Obama-era regulations via the Congressional Review Act. This act allows a new Congress and administration to quickly rescind regulations enacted by the previous administration within a short window. This window has closed. Nonetheless, Congress and the Senate have passed no meaningful legislation. Meaningful legislation is that which fulfills a major campaign promise. For Republicans it is legislation that builds a border wall, repeals Obamacare, or provides tax reform. None of this has been accomplished nor does it appear that it will be accomplished in the near future.
The House of Representatives has been able to pass meaningful legislation because Republicans occupy 241 of the 435 seats. The Senate on the other hand is at a standstill when it comes to productivity.
As the Senate rules stand today, the body needs sixty votes in order to pass any legislation. There are 52 Republicans in the Senate. With politics as divided as they are today, we all know that no Democrat is going to side with President Trump on a border wall, tax reform, or health care. Democrats are known as obstructionists when it comes to productivity during a Republican Administration and majority. The only way for the Senate to pass meaningful legislation is for the Senate Majority Leader to rally his party together and change the rules to where only 51 votes, a simple majority, is necessary to pass legislation. This is the only way good legislation will become law under President Trump.
I’m beginning to wonder if the unwillingness to change the rule is to prevent meaningful legislation from passing in order to protect the swamp. You’d think that Republican Senators who would like to repeal Obamacare, pass tax reform, and build a border wall would be in favor of a simple majority to pass legislation. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hold a fair share of responsibility for what is going on in Washington. These two gentlemen do not share the same vision for America as President Trump. Ryan and McConnell are satisfied with the status quo. President Trump wants to transform our country for good and the only folks standing in his way are lawmakers. Along with not sharing the president’s vision, I believe the House Speaker and Senate Leader do not want to have to deal with the most pressing issues of our country. Are Republican lawmakers hiding behind a Senate rule so they won’t have to deal with difficult issues and an obstructionist opposition?
In order to drain the proverbial swamp, President Trump should pressure Mitch McConnell to end the Senate's sixty vote rule on legislation. If Senator McConnell refuses to do so then the president should openly campaign to have the Senate Majority Leader step down. The president has to understand that the only thing standing between him and his vision for America is this archaic rule in the senate. Republicans, specifically McConnell, are in charge of the rules in the Senate since they hold the majority.
Right now, Mitch McConnell remains the biggest barrier to the realization of the goals the American people elected the president to accomplish.