Guest Editorial


Do what everyone else does, ignore State of the Union address

Bookmark and Share

RICK MANNINGPresident Obama gave his second-to-last State of the Union address. Here is what Republicans should do: ignore it.

That's right, do exactly what a vast majority of Americans will do — forget about it.

Congressional Republicans should move forward with their vision for America and how they want to get there, and let the Democrats in the Senate choose whether to obstruct them by using the filibuster or not.

Whether it be repealing ObamaCare; imposing real, targeted cuts to the budgets of agencies to hamstring regulation writers; or introducing forward-thinking legislation that dismantles the power of the National Labor Relations Board and other agencies, Congress needs to fight for a strong limited-government agenda. If Obama vetoes it, so be it.

That is what Congress was elected to do — to stop Obama's fundamental transformation of America using every means at their disposal. By doing so, they will be setting the vision for the post-Obama era.

The truth is that Obama's agenda is only relevant if Republicans allow it to be.

One policy which Congress should be particularly wary of is the call for granting Obama fast-track authority on his yet-to-be-finalized Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). From the early documents that are available, TPP would impact every aspect of American life, from the energy we use to the food we eat — even the Internet. Largely negotiated in secret with 12 Pacific Rim countries, it would lower tariffs that the United States charges for goods produced in those nations, knocking down our nation's economic borders.

Arguments about free trade aside, what granting Obama fast-track authority means is that the threshold for passage of the treaty through Congress changes from needing a two-thirds vote to a simple majority. Additionally, Congress would not be able to amend or filibuster the treaty, and would have to bring it up within a certain time after it was submitted.

Why does this matter?

A treaty, when ratified, overrides every conflicting law on the books, and the executive branch writes the regulations to apply it. Talk about fundamental transformation.

It boggles the mind why the same Congress that was elected to stop Obama's agenda would give him the legal basis to accomplish it beyond his wildest dreams during his final two years in office.

The 114th Congress was elected as a repudiation of Obama's agenda. Over the course of the next year, they should honor that mandate by rendering him irrelevant by ignoring what he says he wants and forcing him to play defense against positive legislation that restores America's greatness. Most importantly, they should reject ideas like granting him fast-track authority that would empower Obama to complete his eight-year mission statement.

Republicans were elected to stop President Obama, not give him even more power. If they allow the president to set the agenda in his State of the Union speech by giving it credence and attention over the months ahead, they will have ceded the national discussion rather than seizing the opportunities of having a new majority, and that would be both a political and policy mistake.

The author is president of Americans for Limited Government.