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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Gary Franks: Should America be thankful for the midterm results?

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By Gary Franks

Happy Thanksgiving! It’s a day when family and friends come together to thank God for our many blessings. Politically, America has much to be thankful for this holiday season. Our democracy is strong. Democrats and Republicans have something to cheer about. Most importantly, from a policy perspective, America should have a change in direction.

For the Senate, the Republicans only had to win one seat and hold their existing seats to retake the chamber. Despite spending billions of dollars, the Republicans failed to do either.
Democrats skillfully exploited self-inflicted message blunders by Republicans on abortion, Social Security and Medicare, angering young women and senior citizens.
The House of Representatives had a significant change in the past election. Kudos to Leader Kevin McCarthy. Giving attention and funding to deep-blue state House races paid huge dividends in New York and California.

After all, winning Congress by a handful of votes or via a red wave yields the same result – the Republicans take the keys to Congress and will determine the agenda in the next session.

We therefore will hit the pause button on one-party (Democrat) control of our federal government. It comes to an end. Partisan Democrat tactics of ramming through trillions of dollars in spending – adding to our $31 trillion debt – will now be checked. This in and of itself will help ease recession fears and could start to rapidly cool inflation, ultimately calming, if not invigorating, the stock market.

We should be thankful.

Also, we will be better able to hold the president accountable starting in January. For example, the raiding of our strategic oil reserves – meant for a true emergency instead of a tool to placate voters around election time –
should be reviewed, as we are at low levels not seen in 40 years.

We should be thankful that more pressure will be applied to getting the U.S. back on track to being energy independent, like we were during the Trump Administration. This would lower the cost at the pump and overall energy costs.

We should be thankful that President Joe Biden did fire one of his border officials, finally, but much more needs to be done to protect us from an invasion along our border with Mexico. Call it what you may, but as I see it, these invasions may rival what occurred prior to the fall of the Roman Empire, when it too had porous borders.

If many of these folks were carrying weapons that could kill Americans we would see it differently, but instead many carry the drug Fentanyl which also kills Americans. And yet we are oblivious to the unfolding crisis.

We should be thankful that House Republicans and Senate Democrats will be forced to work together – a novel thought. But back in the 20th century and in prior centuries for our great republic, they did work together.

In that vein, I hope we can have a return to Regular Order in the passage of legislation. I hope we can pass a budget in the House. These are the basic functions of Congress not seen in nearly 25 years.

The Republican party should not follow the bad habits of their prior House majorities or the bad practices of Democrat majorities during this century. The next Congress should put an end to giving the nation microwaved warmed-up sausage in terms of legislation related to the funding of the federal government. Congress should make new sausage – new appropriations bills so it can better manage the country’s affairs. Please stop operating via constant Continuing Resolutions.

The country would applaud this modest achievement. Plus, members of Congress would find their jobs to be more enjoyable as everyone would participate instead of just congressional leaders.

Furthermore, on governing, history shows us that a very narrow majority can be a catalyst for party unity out of necessity.

Investigations and impeachments are the new “sexy thing” to do thanks to the Democrats’ model, but the record is very clear. The American people want Congress to do its job in making their lives better and safer.

Democrats more than proved that walking and chewing gum at the same time was a challenge. Republicans should dramatically demonstrate their willingness to eat their dinner – meat and potatoes along with their vegetables first. That means they should pass a budget, complete spending bills via Regular Order and raise the Debt Ceiling when needed – before having dessert – before conducting investigations. If you properly do the “dinner” thing you may find you do not have a lot of spare time, or room in your stomach for dessert.

Doing the opposite, eating your dessert first, often ruins your appetite for dinner. This is not a healthy path to take in the long term, and does not usually end well.

Yes, we have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Day. By the grace of God we live in the greatest country in the history of man, a country that through its people via our democracy, can “self-correct” when necessary and without the use of alternative means.
Gary Franks served three terms as U.S. representative for Connecticut’s 5th District. He was the first Black Republican elected to the House in nearly 60 years and New England’s first Black member of the House. Host: podcast “We Speak Frankly.” Author: “With God, For God, and For Country.” @GaryFranks
©2022 Gary Franks. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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