While Republicans in the Congress weren’t expressing any sort of public panic over election results on Tuesday – which clearly ran against their party, and maybe their President as well – GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill said the election losses certainly showed the need for Republicans to rally behind a tax reform package, and ensure that it becomes law by the end of the year.
“We have a promise to keep,” Speaker Paul Ryan said of the GOP push on tax reform in the wake of Tuesday’s election setbacks for Republicans. “We have got to get on with keeping our promise.”
“We've got to get it done,” said Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), the third ranking Republican in the House, said of tax reform during an appearance on the Mike Gallagher radio show.
“Failure is not an option,” Scalise added.
On Thursday, the GOP tax reform bill is expected to be approved by the House Ways and Means Committee – and it’s expected that a key Senate panel will then release another version of the plan, as Republicans try to follow through on the President’s call for action on tax reform by Christmas.
“You see a tremendous amount of enthusiasm right now,” Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA) said of the GOP push on tax reform.
“This whole package is about making certain that we can move the economy forward,” said Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), who says he sees no reason that the House can’t approve this tax bill by the Friday before Thanksgiving.
“Middle class families are going to win, and businesses are going to grow jobs,” Turner added.
Some Republican lawmakers openly wondered on Wednesday if the lack of motivation for GOP voters in Virginia was at all related to the struggles for the Trump Agenda in Congress, as the GOP has been unable to pass anything to rein in the Obama health law, and is just now getting to a tax reform bill.
“If somebody is motivated because they do not care for our President,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), “there needs to be an equal motivation across the board.”
Speaking to reporters just off the House floor, Meadows lamented that GOP voters might think “the only thing that we can campaign on is the fact that Neil Gorsuch has been confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice.”
Meadows and other Republicans repeatedly cautioned against an overreaction to Tuesday’s results, disputing talk that the GOP is in dire straits for 2018.
“The Democrats showed up – they turned out their base last night,” said Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), as he told reporters at this point, he doesn’t see a wave that will wipe out the GOP in 2018.
“I don’t think you take one off-year race to create that trend,” Walker added.
As for Democrats, they were doing all they could to play up the idea that the GOP would be hit by an election wave in 2018, much like the one that leveled House Democrats in 2010 – after Republicans won the 2009 races for Governor in New Jersey and Virginia.
Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer said Tuesday night reminded him of 2005, when the GOP began losing elections, foreshadowing big losses for Republicans in the 2006 mid-terms.
“The results from last night smell the same way,” said Schumer.
Asked about that, one Republican from Schumer’s home state shrugged off that 2018 talk.
“It’s a year away,” said Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY) with a smile.
“I’m not sure if anyone can smell that far away.”