Republicans should use newfound momentum to fix the budget

Republicans should use newfound momentum to fix the budget
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The "big mo" — momentum — is one of the most significant intangible forces in life.

It controls, for example, the outcome of major sporting events. Just ask the Atlanta Falcons, who lost momentum, blew a 28-3 lead, and then lost the Super Bowl.

Momentum is the wind in your sails; one big victory seems to precede another and another. That’s because of momentum. 


Momentum works in politics, too. Everybody wants it, and President TrumpDonald TrumpMaria Bartiromo defends reporting: 'Keep trashing me, I'll keep telling the truth' The Memo: The center strikes back Republicans eye Nashville crack-up to gain House seat MORE has it. Going into 2018, there is no question which party has the big mo.


Sure, 2017 was a year of ups and downs for Republicans. Their failure to repeal ObamaCare, and a Democrat in Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? Border state governors rebel against Biden's immigration chaos Garland strikes down Trump-era asylum decisions MORE’ old Senate seat are definite downs. However, the closing note of 2017 for Republicans was a policy victory on a massive scale.

Just as President Trump had promised (and many in the media had scoffed at), Republicans delivered a major overhaul of the tax code in time for Christmas. That means an average American just got a tax cut of $1,600, and the United States of America just became a lot more competitive on a global scale and more attractive for corporations.

In the long run, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will be responsible for an additional 2.2 percent of GDP growth. That’s on top of the economic growth that’s already begun under President Trump.

In the short run, the momentum for the TCJA has already begun to kick in. 300,000 employees at either Comcast or AT&T will get a $1,000 bonus from their employer. AT&T will invest an additional $1 billion in the United States, and Boeing an additional $300 billion. The minimum wage at Wells Fargo and Fifth Third bank was just increased to $15 an hour — not because of a government mandate, as liberals have pinned for, but because of the tax cut.

Sometime in early Spring or late Winter, the federal withholding tables are going to change, and most Americans are going to get a surprise: a bigger paycheck. 

All of this good news associated with the tax bill is great news for Republicans, especially considering that jobs and the economy are two issues that tend to drive election results. Republicans have the momentum and Democrats know it. They wanted Republicans to fail at this endeavor because they knew the kind of positive momentum it could generate. That’s why not a single Democrat voted for the bill. They didn’t unilaterally reject the policy; they unilaterally rejected the concept that Republicans would get credit for a policy that Americans appreciate.

Now, Republicans have captured momentum, but they have to decide what to do with it. Just as in sports, momentum can be fleeting. In last year’s Super Bowl, the Falcons had all the momentum — until they didn’t.

An end of the year stop-gap spending measure has set up an all-important funding deadline on January 19. Republicans must use their advantage to advance conservative reforms, not balloon federal spending as the Democrats will be demanding. They must stay on the Trump agenda, not cave to demands of blanket amnesty.

If they successfully navigate the January funding deadline, Republicans can force Democrats to make a choice: to continue the ridiculous Resist movement and oppose everything Trump no matter the consequences, or work with Republicans on the agenda the American people voted for. It would be an impossible choice for Democrats to make: appease their base in an election year, or do the right thing.

Rest assured, the big momentum swing that came in December with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will have a big impact on 2018.

Thomas Binion is director of Congressional and Executive Branch Relations at The Heritage Foundation.