Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Anniston) is confident Republicans will gain control of the U.S. House of Representatives next year.
Republicans taking over the House has nothing to do with what legislators have done or not done. It’s just a matter of history according to Rogers.
“In our country, in the first midterm election of a new president, in every election except two, the party of the president lost an average of 28 seats in the House,” Rogers told the Tallapoosa County Republican Party Monday. “Democrats have a four-seat majority now.”
Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump saw it happen while they were in their first two years in the White House.
“You look at Obama’s first two years,” Rogers said. “He had total control, House, Senate and White House. They ran through a lot of stuff we didn’t like. We got the House back in the first midterm election. We had the house control for his last 6 years and he didn’t get anything done because we stopped it. He wouldn’t work with us.”
It has been repeated in Rogers’ 19 years in Congress. Trump saw a similar thing happen when Democrats took control of the House two years into his term.
“This will be the fifth time since I have been there the majority has changed,” Rogers said. “You can see it coming.”
A biennium is another thing members of Congress are used to.
“We live on a two-year cycle,” Rogers said. “We elect a president, two years later midterm elections.
“What happens historically is the first year of a two-year cycle is when the action happens. When you are a new president, you try to get everything done in the first year. The second year is election. It is amazing how courage fails in the second year.”
The second year of the biennium finds members of the House moving closer to the middle.
“Whether it’s the Democrats trying to keep the majority or the Republicans trying to get it or vice versa during the election year, they don’t want to take votes of significance,” Rogers said. “When you are looking at D.C., look at the first 6 months of the first year. That is when you see the real meat of what they are trying to get done.”
Rogers said Obama used presidential orders to get the Democrat agenda across and Trump was able to undo most of it.
“What people realized is how much power the president has from a regulatory standpoint,” Rogers said. “He controls all the levers of government and that is oppressive enough. Now with Biden in there, they are starting to exercise their regulatory muscles. I’m pleased that legislatively he is not able to get much done. They are still doing stuff when it comes to OSHA, EPA and on and on. It is big government trying to build itself back up.”
The U.S. House of Representatives operates on simple majority but the cloture rule in the U.S. Senate means 60 Senators must agree to consider a bill except for once a year.
“That is important because when you look at the significant stuff they have gotten done is through reconciliation,” Rogers said. “Under Senate rules, one time a calendar year you are allowed to pass a reconciliation bill. It allows you to alter your budget because the numbers don’t work.”
Rogers said Democrats are trying to use reconciliation to sneak things around the cloture rule in the Senate.
“What they did is they say they needed a COVID relief bill,” Rogers said. “(Democrats) came up with a $1.9 trillion bill. (Democrats) can’t get them to work with us on the cloture thing but (Democrats) want to do it through a reconciliation bill. (Democrats) tried to put more stuff in there but the Senate parliamentarian said they couldn’t — it’s stuff like voting rights.”
Rogers said he is not opposed to compromising with Democrats and did so with relief bills as the COVID-19 pandemic straggled the country last year.
“We had to do those first three relief bills or there wouldn’t be an economy to bring back,” Rogers said. “Even the Republicans were fine with that. Now we are getting away from COVID relief and getting into stuff that has nothing to do with it.”
Rogers said many Republicans would like to see an infrastructure bill but a bill without a lot of other stuff tied to it.
“Initially (the Democrat bill) was $2.5 trillion,” Rogers said. “I’m willing to vote for an infrastructure bill. I will vote for a modest tax increase to pay for it because they don’t pay for themselves.
“But what they did was put about 10% that is infrastructure and the rest was stuff that had nothing to do with infrastructure.”