A more conservative agenda will push through Congress, if Republicans can maintain their edge in the U.S. House and get to 60 seats in the Senate, Rep. Rick Allen told supporters last week.
Allen (R-Augusta) made a stop at the Effingham Chamber of Commerce as he kicks off his re-election bid. Allen unseated longtime Congressman John Barrow in 2012, beating the long-time Democrat incumbent by 9.5 percentage points. Eugene Yu, who also ran in the Republican primary two years ago, is challenging Allen in the May primary.
Getting to 60 Republican seats in the Senate would end Democrats’ chances of a filibuster on proposed legislation and it also will enable the GOP to override any presidential veto.
There are 54 Republicans in the Senate currently, and 24 are up for re-election. Ten seats held by Democrats are up for election this year.
“I’m very optimistic you’re going to see some major, major changes,” Allen said.
Congressional Republicans will put together a plan to replace Obamacare, after President Obama vetoed a repeal of the Affordable Care Act that passed.
Allen said Congress has passed measures to force the Obama administration to develop a strategy to combat ISIS. While the president has signed the legislation, he has not acted upon it, Allen noted. Allen said national security is the No. 1 priority for Republicans and Congressional GOP will be formulating an agenda.
The president also has reversed all the welfare reforms enacted by a Republican Congress in the 1990s, Allen said, in the wake of a stimulus package that had no GOP support.
“There is no requirement to even look for a job,” he said. “That’s why we have 90 million people sitting on the sidelines.”
Allen pointed the finger at three Congressional super-majorities — the one President Franklin D. Roosevelt had in 1935, the one President Lyndon B. Johnson had in 1965 and the one President Obama had in 2010.
“In 1965 we said we wanted to end poverty as we know it. We have thrown trillions of dollars at this thing, and we have 46 million people in this country on government assistance,” Allen said. “We’ve got to fix that. We’re better than that.”
The stimulus wasted $1 trillion, Allen alleged, and Congress also has to fight against federal agencies that are essentially a fourth branch of government, he said.
“These agencies were created to administer the laws we created. We create the laws and fund the administration of these laws. They make these rules, and the rules are unconstitutional,” he said.
Congress has sued the Obama administration multiple times on the power and rules of federal agencies. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has joined an amicus brief filed by dozens of states to prevent the president’s executive action on immigration.
“When the legislative branch and the executive branch collide, the courts decide,” he said. “We’re using all the tools in our tool box to stop things.”
Allen said his economic plan begins with trying to convince the federal government to reduce its layers of regulations.
“Let’s do job reform and welfare reform, so we can grow the economy by 4 percent,” he said. “The experts tell me that if we grow the economy by 4 percent, that creates 10 million jobs. That’s about a $600 billion plus up to the balance sheet.”
The best way for the U.S. to climb out of its economic doldrums, Allen said, was to grow the economy, a notion lost on the White House, according to the congressman.
“I hate it when (President Obama) takes credit for the economy like he did in the state of the union address because two weeks later, the stock market dropped 2,000 points,” Allen said. “The only way out of this mess is to grow the economy and create jobs.”
Allen also said the government has to deal with unfunded mandates, with spending projected to reach $120 trillion over 40 years. However, he said, most of those mandates expire in 40 years.
Allen cautioned against Republicans forcing another government shutdown. Democrats want Republicans to do something drastic, he said, and the last time that happened, the Obama administration made cuts to such agencies as the Department of Defense but continued to fund Planned Parenthood, Allen said.
“We shut the government down and it cost the economy $24 billion. And we didn’t accomplish one thing,” he said. “You shut the government down, it gives the president another tool in his toolbox. We can’t let that happen. That’s the biggest battle we fight – they do not care.”