Friday, November 7, 2014

The Power of the Veto

There is a power that is constitutional. Usually the power is in the Presidents hand. It can also be a power wielded by Congress. In the next Congress, that power could be used by either the President or the Congress to their advantage depending on the issue. That power is the veto.

Here’s how it works. Congress writes a bill, it passes both Houses and then moves to the Presidents desk for signature, or veto. Should the President veto it, the only thing that is left for Congress on that bill is to override the veto.

To override a veto, it takes a two-thirds majority of both Houses to pass it. It is not the 60 votes in the Senate that many think. Under the new Congress coming in, the Republicans hold 245 seats and may gain a few more as tight races are cleared up. In the Senate the Republicans hold 52 seats and will likely gain two more and possibly three. Let’s just go with the two right now.

Now that bill that the President vetoed comes back to the Congress. To pass the House they will need two-thirds or 290 votes to veto. So the Republicans would need to come up with an additional 45 votes over what they currently have. So they will need 45 of the 190 Democrats to vote with them on the veto.

In the Senate, 67 votes are needed to override a veto meaning the Republicans are 13 votes short. They need 13 of the 46 Democrats to side with them to override the veto.

As we all know, much of what is done in Washington is not just about passing a law, but it’s for show and/or for use in the next campaign for re-election. Passing a good law is secondary.

Let’s assume for a minute that the Republicans come up with a law, perhaps immigration reform that even the polls may say is acceptable. It passes the House, then it passes the Senate (which means that 6 Democrats would have to sign on as well). But when it arrives at the President’s desk, he vetoes it.

The bill then comes back to the Congress. The Republicans then schedule a vote to override the veto. They should then put on a massive media campaign that they have passed a law, the polls are with them. It’s now up to Democrats to join them to get this law passed.

There are some different perspectives to look at. First, the Republicans. If the override fails, they have an issue for the next election. They can then go on the campaign trail and say their opponents voted against immigration reform that the people approved of.

Second the Democrats. Before the vote, they must consider if they can defend voting against it, or should they vote for it even if they have some problems with it, but overall it’s an acceptable bill for them to be in favor of. If they join the Republicans, they now have a campaign issue to help them in the next election.

Should 45 Democrats in the House and an additional 7 Democrats in the Senate join the Republicans, they have in effect rendered the President irrelevant. Our Congress, both House and Senate, both Republicans and Democrats, have now come together to put the government back into the hands of the Constitution.

For the remainder of the Presidents two years in office he will have to seriously consider vetoing a bill and his reasons for it. If he’s just using the veto pen because it’s a Republican bill, more Americans will see he is just being partisan.

There is one other perspective. If the bill is not a great one, and the veto holds, Congress will then have to, If they are serious about any bill, will have to do a better job of writing that bill. They will actually have to do quality work rather than just doing anything to say they’ve done something.

You’re welcome to comment.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Repubs Win. Now They Need to be Winners

Republicans have taken control of the Senate and increased their majority in the House. As of this writing, the Republicans have taken seats in Colorado, Montana, South Dakota, Arkansas, West Virginia, Iowa, and North Carolina. They have held on to Georgia (without the runoff that was predicted) and Kansas. They’ve also won in Louisiana but that will go to a run off in December before it’s completely decided.
They still have an outside chance at Virginia and Alaska’s polls haven’t closed yet.

The Republicans thus gained seven seats, and likely an eighth in Louisiana in December. If they manage to gain Alaska, that will make nine.
They also held on to Governors in Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida.

But how did they win? It wasn’t due to their message. It was more that they were the recipients of the voters choosing against President Obama rather than choosing the Republicans.

There will be 32 seats up for election in the Senate in 2016 along with the President. Only nine of those seats in the Senate are Democrat held seats. Of those, Mark Kirk in Illinois, John McCain of Arizona, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, and David Vitter of Louisiana would seem to be the most vulnerable. McCain because he’ll be 80 in 2016, Kirk because Illinois is a Democrat state as Wisconsin may be left leaning.

Of all of those running, the only one with a complete message and plan was Ed Gillespie in Virginia, but not much attention was paid because everyone thought Mark Warner would win easily. Now it’s too close to call. Gillespie has an outside chance at winning.

If the Republicans take this election as a message that the American people have chosen their message, they’d better review what their message was. If they want to maintain control of the Senate in two years, they will need to come up with definitive plans on what their agenda will be.

They’d best have a position and ideas on immigration (which they will likely be tested with in weeks), the economy, eliminating Obamacare after 2016 and a solution to how to handle ISIS and to protect this country from terror attacks. If they don’t, or they choose to believe that they were chosen on their merits this time, they will find themselves back in the minority in the Senate in two years and possibly not get the White House.

The American voters seemed to have made a choice this time between holding Obama responsible for all of this nations ills or blaming the Congress with it being a toss up between Republican and Democrats and the Republicans just got lucky that Democrats were blamed more than the Republicans were.

The Republicans in the Senate better find a way to work together between the establishment Republicans and the Tea Party Republicans and then work with the Republican held House.
One thing that is likely to help them is Obama being what he is, the American people will likely find out that the so-called party of “no” isn’t the Republicans but that Obama is the one that can’t and won’t work with the Republicans.

The Republicans had better drive their ideas home and their differences with Obama, in the press often. They have to make the American people understand their positions and how they will benefit people. If they don’t, Obama will not only get the last word, he’ll be getting the only word. That word will be that the Republicans are at fault.

They will likely hold hearings now on the IRS, NSA, Benghazi and Hillary’s role, Fast and Furious and the other scandals, but that shouldn’t be the only thing they talk about. They’d best look to the future as well as holding those accountable for the past.

They won the election, now they need to win the future for the American people to be the winners. 

You’re welcome to comment.