As New Leaders Take Office, President Should Listen To Voters

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The historic elections of 2014 are now two months behind us, but this week the winners finally take office. A new governing season has begun. President Obama is poised to travel the country to talk to Americans – he should listen to them first.

With Republicans taking charge of the Senate, the GOP will lead both houses of Congress for the first time in eight years—and of course, for the first time during the Obama administration. Pro-growth, pro-jobs legislation will finally get the attention it deserves. Legislation to rein in the federal government’s overreach and intrusion into our lives will be a priority not just of the House of Representatives but also of the Senate. Americans frustrated by ObamaCare can rest assured that Congress is being led by legislators who hear their concerns. And as Leader McConnell and Speaker Boehner have made clear, getting the Keystone Pipeline built is one of the first priorities of the new Congress.

For the last four years, Republicans have sent bill after bill to the U.S. Senate to create jobs, lower taxes, and roll back ObamaCare. Under the control of Harry Reid and the Democrats, that legislation rarely saw the light of day. In the last Congress, over 350 bills that passed the House never got a vote in the Senate, even though many of them were bipartisan. Now, that will change; the Senate will get back to work. Important bills will now get the vote they deserve, but the question remains: Will President Obama do what’s right and listen to voters’ priorities? Or will the president’s desk be where commonsense legislation goes to die for the next two years?

The president still wields his veto pen. If he doesn’t want to build the Keystone Pipeline and create jobs, he’ll use his veto. If he doesn’t want to protect working families from Obamacare’s price increases, he’ll use his veto. And if he doesn’t want to join Republicans in dealing with our $18 trillion national debt, he’ll veto cost-cutting measures.

In short, Republicans will work every day to fulfill the promises made to voters in the last campaign and pass legislation that helps all Americans, especially middle class families. But with just 54 seats in the Senate, Republicans don’t have the power to overcome a presidential veto. Likewise, Senate Democrats may still choose to filibuster bills that aren’t in line with their big government worldview—a worldview that was soundly rejected in November.

So to the voters who cast their ballots for Republicans, the message is simple: continue speaking out, and continue making your voices heard. President Obama and his fellow Democrats would do well to listen to what you had to say on Election Day, but to ensure they get the message, they need to hear it every day. President Obama said his policies were “on the ballot.” Those policies lost, so it’s our hope he and his party will change course and work with Republicans on policies to grow jobs and expand freedom and opportunity.

The president has a choice: He can keep pushing the liberal agenda that voters rejected or he can support the priorities of the American people. Republicans stand at the ready with solutions to everything from getting spending under control and limiting government overreach to making life more affordable for working families and improving access to education. The president would be well-advised to work with Congress and get his pen ready to sign some legislation. This should be an easy decision for him, yet sadly he’s shown no indication that he’s ready to make the right choice.

That is a reminder of why it’s so important that we elect a Republican president in 2016—and strengthen our majorities in Congress. The 2014 election wasn’t the end; it was one more step in getting our federal government back on the side of the American people. Giving voice to the dreams, aspirations and hopes of the American people is our mission at the RNC, NRCC and NRSC. The results of the 2014 election prove that Americans believe as Republicans do that our nation’s best days are ahead of us. 

Reince Priebus is chairman of the RNC. Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) is chairman of the NRCC. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) is chairman of the NRSC.

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