Several members of Congress told The Stream Thursday that conservative policies will emerge from the House no matter who is President in 2017.
“We’ve got things we’re going to do here regardless of who the president is,” Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said at the monthly Conversations with Conservatives in response to a question from The Stream about how conservatives plan to lead if Donald Trump wins the White House.
Gohmert recalled that under President George W. Bush, “We had a Republican in the White House,” he said. “We had some great things we wanted to move forward on, and I was surprised as a freshman how much we were affected by the agenda that President Bush had at the time.”
So who the president is “does have an effect, it is a legitimate question,” he continued. “But I think because this is not an election like we’ve ever seen in my lifetime, we’re going to be able to have more say than we have in the past, if we will stand up and say. But that’s been a concern in the past. We just kind of limped along with whatever agenda anybody else had. I think that now you’ve got people who are actually pulling the wagon, and pushing from the other side, and we’ve got a real chance to start achieving some of our agenda.”
Kansas Republican Tim Huelskamp praised House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) for putting forth a series of policy proposals in recent weeks. “As it stands now, we have a Democrat nominee and a Republican nominee that have the highest negatives probably ever in the history of presidential politics,” said Huelskamp at the Capitol Hill meeting, “and I think for Republicans, personalities divide, but policies unite.”
“I think on plenty of issues, it’s very unclear what Donald Trump thinks, and what his official stands are,” he said.
According to House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), “We anticipate unveiling five pieces of legislation we think are important.” Jordan, who like Huelskamp praised Ryan’s policy agenda, named the religious liberty-focused First Amendment Defense Act and welfare reform as two areas of top concern for the Freedom Caucus.
One area of common concern for conservatives and establishment Republicans is education reform. Moderator Genevieve Wood, a senior fellow in communications at the Heritage Foundation, asked Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) about a bill she has introduced that would improve school choice and relieve parents of some of the burdens imposed by federal mandates.
According to Lummis, her bill would allow parents who object to federal mandates to “get an education savings account for their child in the amount that is the average for that state to educate a student” and take that money elsewhere. Lummis said that while the bill would apply to all federal mandates, it was introduced after President Obama’s May mandate that schools will risk federal funding if they do not allow gender-confused teenagers to use the restroom, locker room and other sex-segregated facilities of their choice.
That mandate is being opposed by states that filed a lawsuit against the federal government late last month. (For more from the author of “Conservative Congressmen: We Can Lead No Matter Who’s in the White House” please click HERE)