12.29.15

Editorial: GOP Senate Makes Progress

Many people seem fond of complaining about gridlock in Washington, without thinking much about the substantive policy differences sometimes responsible. But it certainly is true that at times, it seems getting anything done between Capitol Hill and the White House is a chore the mythical character Sisyphus, who was condemned to spend eternity rolling a boulder up a hill only to see it tumble down again, would understand.

On a notable number of occasions during the past year, lawmakers managed to roll the rock over the top on important issues, however.

Much of that improvement in the U.S. Senate occurred after Republicans had gained a majority in that body, Sen. Shelley Capito, R-W.Va., has pointed out.

Especially on issues of direct concern to West Virginians, Capito herself has been effective. Though she is a freshman senator, her many years in the House of Representatives, combined with her own dedication and lawmaking skill, allowed her to hit the ground running.

For several years, liberal Democrats in the Senate were successful in blocking efforts to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency. It should be noted our other senator, Democrat Joe Manchin, has stood up for West Virginia in opposing his party on that.

But this year, with Republicans in the majority, senators did approve some measures to curb the EPA's abuse of authority. One of them was a critical bill sponsored by Capito, to block enforcement of new carbon emissions rules on existing power plants.

In addition, Capito has made progress on other priorities for Mountain State residents, including education, access to Internet broadband service and fighting drug abuse.

Again, much of that would not have occurred had the Senate stayed under the thumb of former Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

As Capito notes, 2015 was the year in which the Senate passed the first multi-year highway funding bill since 2005 and the first significant education reform measure since 2002.

So there has been progress in breaking gridlock. Alas, a final barrier remains in place. Though both houses of Congress took action to repeat the disastrous Obamacare health insurance takeover, the president blocked it.

So while there has been improvement on Capitol Hill, courtesy of the new Republican majority in the Senate, one more change needs to take place - in the White House.


Source: The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register