Wicker Touts Renewed Productivity of the Senate Under Republican Rule

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WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) appeared before a breakfast meeting of The Ripon Society yesterday morning, delivering remarks about the renewed productivity of the United States Senate, and the political outlook for the remainder of 2016.

“We’re back to work in the Senate and don’t let anybody tell you we’re not,” the veteran lawmaker stated.  “You know the story of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson talking about the Constitution?  Washington was having tea with Jefferson after he had gotten back from France, and Jefferson asked, ‘Why did the Constitutional Convention create a Senate?’

“Jefferson had just tipped his cup over and spilled some of the tea into the saucer. And Washington asked him, ‘Why did you do that?’ To which Jefferson replied, ‘To cool the tea off.’  Washington said, ‘That’s the same reason we created the Senate — to cool off the passions of the day, to make the process a little more cumbersome, and to slow things down.  That’s the reason the Senate was created.’”

Looking back on the past few years on Capitol Hill, Wicker continued:

“I do believe that in 2013 and 2014, if George Washington could have come back and talked to Harry Reid, he would have said, ‘Harry, you’ve taken it too far. We meant for you to cool things down. We meant for you to slow things down.  But really — 15 votes on amendments for the entire year of 2014 is just not enough. We need to move things faster, and we need to get back to work.’”

“If George Washington could have come back and talked to Harry Reid, he would have said, ‘Harry, you’ve taken it too far.’”

According to Wicker, Reid’s strategy as Majority Leader to slow things down ended up hurting not just the country, but Democrat incumbents, as well.

“Guess how many Begich Amendments were voted on during his entire six years in the Senate?” Wicker asked, referring to the former Democrat Senator from Alaska who was defeated for reelection in 2014.  “The answer is zero.  He never even got a vote on the Senate floor!  It kind of helped Dan Sullivan when he pointed that out.  Here’s a guy who served six straight years, and he never even had a chance for a vote.”

Wicker stated that Republicans promised to change that if they were given back control of the chamber, and they have done just that by passing bills to, among other things: rewrite the No Child Left Behind Act, reform the way doctors are paid under Medicare, rebuild our nation’s aging infrastructure, reduce the scourge of human trafficking, and address the opioid epidemic across America.  “Compared to 15 votes on amendments in 2014,” he noted, referring to the chamber’s renewed productivity, “we had over 160 votes on amendments during the first year of Mitch McConnell’s Republican leadership in the United States Senate.  That is a vast change.”

Wicker is serving his second term in the Senate after serving six terms in the U.S. House.  He is a member of the Senate Republican leadership team, serving as Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.  In this role, he is leading the effort to hold and grow the Senate GOP Majority.  It is an effort, he noted, that is aided by the quality of the candidates who are running for reelection this year.  “We have absolutely an excellent class of incumbents,” Wicker declared.

The NRSC Chairman concluded his remarks by talking about what he views as one of the key issues in the upcoming election – the rising cost of health care and the Obama Administration’s failed attempt at reform.

“We think Obamacare is going to be an issue in this year’s Senate races,” he stated.  “Look at New Hampshire, where there’s been a 45% increase in premiums.  We think that is going to be an issue.  In Arizona — where John McCain’s Democratic opponent says her vote for Obamacare is her proudest vote in her entire career — we think we can make her eat that statement.  We think it is going to help our incumbents.”

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.