House Republicans left dozens of important policy riders and measures that defund various parts of the Obama agenda on the table during the failed omnibus negotiation, but that doesn't mean that their work should go for naught.
Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) is bringing together many of the most important economic riders into a single bill, The Article I Consolidated Appropriations Amendments of 2016, to keep these issues at the top of the agenda rather than losing the value of the hard work done last year to rein in President Obama's pen-and-phone approach to governance.
Among the dozens of policy riders and defunds incorporated into the act are a number of measures that would stop the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) regulatory onslaught against energy producers, mining and agriculture. Other measures would stop the Labor Department and National Labor Relations Board from becoming virtual proxies for Big Labor through various actions that attack the franchise and independent consultant business models, putting union reps into the middle of OSHA inspections at non-union companies, and ambush union elections.
The genius of the legislation is that a vast majority of the proposals contained within it have already been vetted through regular order processes, and passed by the House, giving the legislation an aura of consensus that every Republican should be able to rally round.
Buck argues that "By doing our work, House Republicans have laid out a counterbalance to President Obama's wholesale assault on free markets and individual liberties."
While, at some level, it may feel like conservatives are being asked to play Charlie Brown, trusting Lucy Van Pelt to not pull the football away again, the Buck effort has the benefit of keeping Obama policies that threaten our nation's economic security at the forefront in one neat package for the House to send over to the Senate.
The reality is that Senate Democrats are unlikely to allow the comprehensive legislation to become law, but once it is passed by the House, every individual item should be inserted into must-pass appropriations bills and other legislation demanded by the president. By virtue of the House passing the Buck bill, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHow Kevin McCarthy sold his soul to Donald Trump On The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood Stopping the next insurrection MORE (R-Wis.) will have the impetus to drive a set of appropriations bills to the president's desk that include Republican priorities rather than the Democratic Christmas tree that the omnibus became.
What's more, like former Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorRepublicans eager to take on Spanberger in Virginia Virginia emerging as ground zero in battle for House majority McAuliffe's loss exposes deepening Democratic rift MORE's (R-Va.) "You Cut" program, the Consolidated Appropriations Amendments of 2016 provides a bounty of issues for editorialists, talk-show hosts and bloggers to focus upon with ready-made constituencies and facts to support them.
What's more, the legislation has the potential to bridge the gap between the left wing of the House Republican Conference and the conservatives by showcasing areas of agreement. An example is the inclusion of the Rep. Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarJan. 6 committee subpoenas leaders of 'America First' movement Lawmakers coming under increased threats — sometimes from one another McCarthy says he'll strip Dems of committee slots if GOP wins House MORE (R-Ariz.)-sponsored de-fund of Obama's attempt to destroy local zoning through a U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulation. The de-fund passed with an overwhelming number of House Republican votes and enjoys not only the support of the conservative Gosar, but also Rep. Pete King of New York, leader of the GOP's moderate wing.
The HUD Obamazoning de-fund is just one of dozens examples of proposals contained within Buck's legislation that bring Republicans together, rather than tearing them apart. And this binding together around limited government principles and rebuilding Congress's Article I responsibilities is one of the great opportunities for 2016.
Manning is president of Americans for Limited Government.