While conservatives widely view this week’s Republican sweep in the midterms as a victory, the most influential progressive think tank in America believes the GOP will compromise and work with the president on such transformational issues as immigration and health-care reform.
The Center for American Progress is often called the “idea factory” of the White House. Its research papers routinely dictate Obama administration policy. CAP founder John Podesta is currently a top adviser to President Obama and a White House counselor.
One would think CAP would be dismayed by the resounding Democrat defeat at the polls this week, which produced a Republican majority in the Senate. Instead, the think tank is expecting the GOP to compromise on key issues.
A posting at CAP’s Think Progress blog says Republicans “didn’t offer an overarching agenda or platform to voters during the 2014 midterm elections and party leaders were careful to avoid sweeping policy declarations.”
“Instead, they promised to compromise with the president.”
CAP envisions a possibly “more harmonious Congress,” with some goals that already have bipartisan support.
On health-care reform, CAP notes: “Both parties have expressed support for tweaking aspects of the Affordable Care Act by repealing the law’s medical device tax, an independent board tasked with controlling health care costs, and modifying or outright eliminating the law’s employer responsibility provision – a measure the administration itself has delayed twice and some prominent progressives have walked away from.”
CAP was emboldened by the stated goals of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the likely chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Ryan “promised to tackle tax reform (a project he told Bloomberg on Tuesday night would ideally attract 60 votes in the Senate) and insisted that Republicans still plan to advance immigration reform – on a step-by-step basis that begins with border security. Obama endorsed such a process last year.”
CAP is hopeful Republicans and Democrats will work together to “fast-track authority for trade deals with the European Union and nations in Asia.”
And CAP envisions some bipartisan support for the GOP’s goal of approving the Keystone XL pipeline – a project, the CAP blog notes, that “16 Senate Democrats endorsed when the body voted on a non-biding resolution in March of 2013.”
CAP was heartened by statements from Republican leaders hinting at compromise with Obama.
The Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus, stated on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that congressional Republicans must focus on “achievable things, work with the president, get those things done, repeat and repeat and repeat.”
Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, similarly discussed working with Democrats.
He stated, “I think the mandate is about, ‘Let’s see some accomplishments.’ And I think that’s what you saw candidates across the country do, roll up our sleeves, ‘Let’s see what we can do together, and let’s demonstrate to the American people that we can actually work to accomplish for the good of the country.'”
CAP noted Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the Senate minority leader, stated that a divided government “doesn’t mean we have to be in perpetual conflict.”