A Case for Small Victories in Congress

Sean Noble
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Posted: Feb 04, 2015 5:12 PM
A Case for Small Victories in Congress

As the new Congress, now controlled by Republicans in both houses, settles in for work in Washington D.C., there will be huge expectations from those on the Right. It will be important for Republicans to balance the “do-something” chorus and President Obama, who believes he can rule by veto-threat.

In addition to rolling back disasters like ObamaCare, Republicans should look at the next two years as a public relations battle, not just a legislative battle. Some on the right have said nothing short of a repeal of ObamaCare is good enough. However, there is a case to be made for small victories.

Financial guru Dave Ramsey often talks about the “Debt Snowball” principle. Rather than using the traditional method of paying off personal debt starting with the card with the highest interest rate, Ramsey suggests that you ignore the interest rates and start with the smallest debt. Then pay off the next smallest card, adding the previous debt’s minimum payment. Ramsey writes:

“The point of the debt snowball is behavior modification. In our example, if you start paying on the student loan first because it's the largest debt, you won't see it leave for a while. You'll see numbers going down on a page, but that's it. Pretty soon, you'll lose steam and stop paying extra, but you'll still have all your debts hanging around.

But when you ditch the small debt first, you see progress.”

This is what the Republican Congress needs: a few small victories to build momentum and show the American people that they can make progress.

This week, American Encore released its Blueprint for 2015: Setting the Stage for the Next Session with the hopes that Republicans will embrace the principles and change that the American people want. One “small victory” is going back to the 40-hour work week. Under ObamaCare, full-time workers were reclassified as those who work a minimum of 30 hours per week so that employers would be responsible for health insurance. This effectively became a wage hike for businesses that either had to increase their prices to cover new costs, cut employees to 29 hours, fire employees, or a combination of these.

While repealing ObamaCare is the ultimate goal, Congress should pursue the small victory (though large for businesses) of passing The Save American Workers Act, which will allow employers to continue to offer part-time employment in excess of 30 hours a week without the added cost and pressure of ObamaCare’s demands.

The Blueprint also lays out several other common-sense economic policy proposals that have been sitting on congressional back burners for years due to Harry Reid’s obstruction in the Senate. With Reid out of the way, bills like REINs Act, legislation that would grant sorely needed congressional oversight to the Executive Branch regulatory process, need not wait any longer for a vote.

Additionally, American Encore will have an eye on one state – Arizona – and its new Republican Governor, Doug Ducey, and the Republican-controlled legislature. Arizona will serve as a case study for implementing bold ideas and reform. A great example of a “small victory” for fiscal reform was Governor Ducey’s presentation of his FY 2016 budget. For the first time in Arizona, the Governor’s budget was distributed on thumb drives rather than on paper. This saved taxpayers $8,000. While it may not seem like much, it’s that kind of thinking that snowballs. This small victory is just one part of budget cuts that help trim more than $660 million in wasteful spending and bureaucracy.

As free-market conservatives, we have a lot of big goals, like repealing ObamaCare. However, we can’t let that cloud our appreciation and support for small victories like the Save American Workers Act and other legislation in American Encore’s Blueprint for 2015. These small victories can give us much-needed momentum that shows the American people that Republicans are committed to reform, not just rhetoric.