It’s déjà vu all over again.
The inauguration of Donald Trump on January 20 means that, once again, the Republicans have absolute control of the government. The Republicans regained control of the Congress that they had lost during the last two years of the presidency of George W. Bush when House Republicans won a majority of seats in the 2010 midyear elections and Senate Republicans won a majority of seats in the 2014 midyear elections. Just like when the Republicans held a majority in both Houses of Congress during the last six years of Bill Clinton’s presidency, all that was lacking was a Republican president “to make America great again.”
This happened two other times in recent history. Republicans had a majority in Congress for the first two years of Dwight Eisenhower’s presidency (1953-1955). They also had a majority in Congress for over four years under George W. Bush. Here is why it was not for an even four or six years. At the time of Bush’s inauguration in 2001, the Republicans controlled both Houses of Congress. The Republicans held on to their majority in the Senate until May 24, 2001, when Republican senator Jim Jeffords switched from Republican to Independent and ended Republican control of the Senate. Republicans regained control of the Senate in the 2002 midterm elections, and then remained in control of both Houses of Congress until their defeat in the 2006 midterm elections.
And what did the Republicans do when they were in charge?
If ever Roosevelt’s New Deal could have been repealed in its entirety, it was when the Republicans had absolute control of the government under President Eisenhower. They, of course, did nothing. And even if the Republicans in Congress had tried to do something, it would have been squelched by Eisenhower, who wrote in a 1954 letter:
Now it is true that I believe this country is following a dangerous trend when it permits too great a degree of centralization of governmental functions. I oppose this — in some instances the fight is a rather desperate one. But to attain any success it is quite clear that the Federal government cannot avoid or escape responsibilities which the mass of the people firmly believe should be undertaken by it. The political processes of our country are such that if a rule of reason is not applied in this effort, we will lose everything — even to a possible and drastic change in the Constitution. This is what I mean by my constant insistence upon “moderation” in government. Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H.L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.
It was even worse when Republicans were in charge under Bush. They practically doubled the budget and the national debt and as they massively increased government spending. They created the monstrous Department of Homeland Security with its groping TSA goons.
They crippled corporations with the arcane Sarbanes-Oxley Act. They destroyed the Fourth Amendment and civil liberties with the draconian Patriot Act. They allowed the NSA to begin spying on every American. They increased farm subsidies and foreign aid. They greatly expanded the Department of Education. They gave us the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, and the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act. Bush started two unjust, immoral, and senseless wars—accompanied by assassinations, torture, and drone strikes—with hardly a peep out of Republicans in Congress. Bush claimed that he “abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system” with his bailout and stimulus programs “to make sure the economy doesn’t collapse.”
It has now been two months since the Trump inauguration. The Republican-controlled Congress has only sent eighteen bills to President Trump, none of them of much substance. He has signed nine of them into law:
PL 115-2, S.84, A bill to provide for an exception to a limitation against appointment of persons as Secretary of Defense within seven years of relief from active duty as a regular commissioned officer of the Armed Forces.
PL 115-3, H.R.72, GAO Access and Oversight Act of 2017
PL 115-4, H.J.Res.41, Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of a rule submitted by the Securities and Exchange Commission relating to “Disclosure of Payments by Resource Extraction Issuers.”
PL 115-5, H.J.Res.38, Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of the Interior known as the Stream Protection Rule.
PL 115-6, H.R.255, Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act.
PL 115-7, H.R.321, Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act.
PL 115-8, H.J.Res.40, Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Social Security Administration relating to Implementation of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007.
PL 115-9, H.R.609, To designate the Department of Veterans Affairs health care center in Center Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania, as the “Abie Abraham VA Clinic.”
PL 115-10, S.442, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2017.
(PL 115-1, H.R.39, Tested Ability to Leverage Exceptional National Talent Act of 2017 or the TALENT Act of 2017, was signed into law by President Obama before he left office.)
What are the Republicans waiting for?
The Republicans claim they are the party of the Constitution, limited government, fiscal conservatism, and free markets. So what are they waiting for? Christmas?
We have a bloated, invasive, intrusive, destructive monstrosity called the U.S. federal government that is out of control. When are the Republicans going to do something about it? We have a welfare state that LBJ could only have dreamed of. When are the Republicans going to do something about it? We have a national debt approaching $20 trillion. When are the Republicans going to do something about it? We have a federal budget of $4 trillion. When are the Republicans going to do something about it? The Constitution is violated on a daily basis. When are the Republicans going to do something about it? We have massive government intervention in the economy and society. When are the Republicans going to do something about it? We have a warfare state that makes terrorists, widows, and orphans. When are the Republicans going to do something about it? We have a myriad of government departments, agencies, and bureaus that most Americans have never even heard of. When are the Republicans going to do something about it? We live in a police state that is anything but a free society. When are the Republicans going to do something about it?
When are the Republicans going to do something to end income redistribution and crony capitalism? When are the Republicans going to do anything? Give them time, you say. They have had plenty of time and plenty of opportunities. And what have they done? Nothing but waste time and opportunities. They neither deserve nor need any more time.
The problem is not that Republicans need more time. They are not waiting for the right time to change any of these things. The problem is that Republicans are the architects and/or supporters of these nefarious things.