Congress Episode 115: The Republicans Strike Back

By Bear Higgins, Deputy News Editor

Signs rise among a sea of heads. Angered protesters of all walks of life fill the streets of our nation’s capital voicing their concerns for their future. After a brutal and bitter political cycle, the Republicans control the government for the first time in almost a decade. Despite this unity in our government, the divisions in America run deep. Marches and protests have gathered in cities across the country. Party lines are not the temporary election lines that tend to fade away. Even in other countries we see protests of newly elected Donald Trump and his party as they move forward on their promise to “Make America Great Again”.

While much of the focus is on the new president, Congress holds most of the power to enact change for the years to come. President Trump could not ask for a better congress to help him with his agenda. The 115th Congress plans to be in the front lines cutting taxes, and unrolling many of the Obama administration policies they have opposed over his eight years, something the president based his campaign on.

With a 52/100 republican majority in the Senate, and a 246/435 majority in the house, there seems to be little in the way of achieving those goals. The main goals for the Republicans includes cutting taxes heavily, decreasing environmental regulations, building a wall on the Mexican border, but most of all a focus on unrolling the Obama legacy.

“Lowering taxes isn’t always the right choice; a lot of that money goes towards important programs in our government that people depend on,” senior Seth Robinette said.

While some like Seth were critical, other Reynolds students applauded the change in tempo.

“Our country has been going the wrong direction for too long. I’m looking forward to seeing what a unified government can get done instead of just fighting all the time,” junior Wills Combs said.

In comparison to a month ago, the 115th Congress is still unified under the Republicans and can work with President Trump to pass laws together, something that was rare in the conflict between the 114th congress and President Obama. Still, Democrats refuse to be overlooked and some vow to do whatever they can to slow the progress of the Republicans.

“Well, it does depend on what happens with the Betsy Devos confirmation and where they decide to put the money in general,” Walters said highlighting the changes students could see in school. “But it could be beneficial if they keep the student’s best interests at heart.”

Republicans criticize the obstructionism, but also did the same thing with their gridlock on Obama. The difference is the Democrats don’t hold a voting majority, which makes all the difference.

“I just hope that the Democrats can come together on the important issues and work with the Republicans but not give up their core beliefs,” Robinette said.

Combs also responded with a hopeful tone.

“Opposing to oppose is not healthy for our democracy,” Combs said. “We need to come together like we always do and just put the election behind us.”

Photo from Duke Chronicle