Why A Senate Majority Can Make All The Difference

By Dick Morris on October 17, 2014

As Republicans close in on a Senate majority, the question looms: What difference would it make? With the White House still at the ready to veto anything the GOP Congress passes, is not a Republican Senate merely another formulation likely to trigger gridlock in Washington?

No! Control of the Senate can be the key to pushing back Obama’s goal of creating a nation ruled by one dominant party in perpetuity, which I discuss in my new book Power Grab.

Control of the Senate hands the Republicans control over the budget. If they overreach and try again to hit a grand slam by zero funding ObamaCare, they will strike out as they did in October of 2013. Obama will simply veto the budget, let the government shut down, and blame the Republicans. We already know how that will turn out — a bit GOP loss.

But if the Republicans use their Senate majority to play small ball and make limited but very important advances, they can use their budgetary power to achieve great ends.

Because Congress has the ability to vote on each line of the budget while the President, lacking the line item veto, can only sign or veto the whole thing, Republicans can advance their agenda one line at a time. Each advance would be important, but they would not rise collectively to enough to justify a presidential veto and a government closure.

For example:

• Republicans can attach to the Homeland Security budget a requirement of a quarantine banning all travelers who have recently been to an Ebola-afflicted nation from coming into the United States.

• They could insert in the ICE budget language overriding the President’s coming executive order ending deportations.

• They could put in the HHS budget provisions killing the death panel (Medicare Payment Advisory Board) and the excise tax on medical devices.

• They can include language Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) has gotten in the current budget banning enforcement of the Small Arms Limitation agreement signed by the US at the urging of the UN.

By this “small ball” strategy of using the budget to effect important but limited modifications in Obama’s policies, we can bring the Obama power grab to a screeching halt.

A Republican Senate can also block the confirmation of partisan liberal Democratic judges, using their power either to bargain for better selections or to keep the post vacant until a Republican president takes over. Similarly, they can use their confirmation power to block overly partisan appointments to federal regulatory boards or executive branch agencies.

Having jammed through the elimination of the 60 vote requirement for confirmations, the Democrats will now be shot with their own bullet and be unable to block Republican sway over nominations and confirmations. Turnabout is fair play.

Finally, the Republican Senate should bring to the floor and reject all executive branch power grab treaties Obama and others have signed. These treaties, failing Senate disapproval, remain in effect as a result of the presidential signature under the Vienna Convention.

The treaties we must kill are:

• The Law of the Sea Treaty.

• The Small Arms Trade Treaty.

• The International Criminal Court Treaty.

• The Code of Conduct in Outer Space.

• The Rights of the Disabled Treaty.

• And any Global Climate Change treaty the Administration negotiates.

Some of these treaties are bad ideas. Others, like the Disability Treaty, are not objectionable except that they usurp American jurisdiction and take away our right to legislate for ourselves in this area.

Control of the Senate can make a vast difference. Let’s hope Republicans get it and turn out in large numbers to bring it about.

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