“You can either govern or grandstand.”

Barrasso Outlines Senate Priorities, and Points to Challenges that Remain

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (WY) appeared before a breakfast meeting of The Ripon Society this past Thursday morning, delivering remarks about some of the top priorities being worked on in the Senate, and some of the challenges that he and his colleagues have faced as they have tried to make progress on these priorities so far this year.

“We have 1,100 different people that need to be confirmed,” Barrasso stated, referring to one of those priorities. “So far, we have confirmed 17. We’ll get to number 18 today. Every one of them has been dragged out to use the full 30 hours of debate that Democrats can use on every nominee. And that’s what slows it down. You basically can do four a week and nothing else in between if you use all 30 hours. You drag it out, and you go all night. We have done that a couple of times. So you get four a week, which means you can’t do anything else.”

“On top of that, we have the Supreme Court nominee. I think the outcome of the election in November was due in part to the fact that Mitch McConnell had the vision and the foresight — as well as the firm backbone — to say, ‘We’re going to keep this seat open until we have a new President, and let the American people decide who should be nominated to the Supreme Court.’ Neil Gorsuch has a long history in Wyoming. Even before Statehood, his great-grandfather built the Wolf Hotel in Saratoga, Wyoming, which is still there today. We’re going to get him confirmed before we break for Easter.”

Barrasso, who was elected to his second full-term in the Senate in 2012, currently serves as Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee — the fourth-ranking member of the Senate GOP leadership. Before entering public office, he spent over 20 years as an orthopedic surgeon in his home state. In part because of this experience, he has become one of the leading voices for common sense health care reform in America.

Making reference to the current effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and the challenges facing Congress in that regard, the Wyoming lawmaker and doctor stated: “We know what the policy ought to be. But there’s also the politics of what we can get done and what we can’t get done. As Ronald Reagan said, ‘I’d rather have 80 percent of what I can get than go over the cliff with the flag flying and get nothing.’ So we want to get what we can get.”

“We’re also stymied with the procedural components. President Obama came to the Hill before he left office and said, ‘Don’t work with the Republicans on health care at all.’ Democrats lost elections in 2010, 2014, and 2016. We’ve got the House, we’ve got the Senate, and we’ve got the White House basically because of Obamacare and the impact it’s had on American families. So he said. ‘Let them own it. We don’t want anything to do with it. Do not help them.’ When you’re facing that, you have to deal with the fact that there are only so many things you can do procedurally with reconciliation. There’s only so much you can do with 51 votes – which means if we only had 52 votes, then that doesn’t give you a lot of margin for error…”

“That’s why I’m supporting what they’re doing in the House. Could it be better? Absolutely. But I want to get it to the Senate and get it to the President because we finally have a President who can sign something into law. The majority of Republicans in the House and the majority of Republicans in the Senate have never actually served with a President of our own party who could sign something into law. It’s almost a re-education where you realize that we can actually govern — we can get something to the President’s desk and he will sign it, as opposed to the things we passed before that President Obama vetoed.

“So it’s a different time. We’re trying to re-learn the lessons of attack and get to the lessons of govern. You can either govern or grandstand, and I want to govern and get things done and move the country in the right direction.”

To view the remarks of Senator Barrasso before The Ripon Society’s breakfast discussion last Thursday morning, please click on the link below:

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.