Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich offered a roadmap for how Republicans can hold onto their lead in the House in this fall's midterm elections. In an opinion piece for Fox News, he laid out the specifics for how to do it.
What Republicans must do, Gingrich explained, was to coalesce around a set of legislative goals and then work to build a "countervailing wave" against Democrats. Republicans "must not get comfortable playing defense. All of them must be prepared to go on offense.
"Republicans must put together a set of strong, popular legislative actions and start fighting for them – every single day. These need to be simple, principled, legislative goals that are easy for the American people to both understand and support. Just as importantly, these legislative goals need to be painful for Democrats to oppose," he wrote.
What Republicans could do is follow the success they enjoyed in passing the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, where he explained GOP lawmakers "had a plan and they worked doggedly to execute it."
Towards that end, Gingrich suggested Republican lawmakers rally around two pieces of legislation – The Modern Employment Reform, Improvement, and Transformation (MERIT) Act introduced by Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., and the Employee Rights Act. These, he maintained, would be difficult for Democrats to argue against.
The MERIT Act, he explained, builds on President Donald Trump's success in firing "bad" employees from the Department of Veterans Affairs following "years of misconduct and incompetence" that resulted in "thousands of veterans' health care needs being ignored.
"Under current law, it can take years to fire and replace a federal employee who misbehaves or fails to do his or her job. This extraordinary job protection has come out of decades of bureaucrats protecting one another by using the Washington swamp to build up a thick protective barrier of red tape.
"Instead of firing bad employees, federal agencies have found it easier to transfer them – or even promote them out of the job at which they are failing," Gingrich explained.
The MERIT Act would offer an alternative that allowed agency heads to give an employee seven to 21 days' notice in writing that they were being fired for cause. An employee could appeal, but an answer would have to take place within a 30-day time frame. He maintained Democrats would be hard-pressed to defend keeping employees who were not performing.
"This is a tough idea for Democrats to oppose. It would be very entertaining to see Democratic candidates nationwide try to explain to voters why federal employees, who are paid with taxpayer dollars, should receive extraordinary protection from being terminated for breaking rules and slacking off while they are supposed to be doing the peoples' work," Gingrich wrote.
The Employee Rights Act guarantees most employees the right to a secret ballot in deciding whether or not to join a union, thereby averting union pressure. It would also allow employees collectively to decide through secret referendums whether or not they wanted to remain in a union. Gingrich explained the idea polled high in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio – states that have a large union presence.
These two pieces of legislation, he said, were "straightforward, popular fights that fit perfectly with President Trump's agenda to make America great again," while also being "fights that Democrats will not be able to defend against in most parts of the country."
Republicans should embrace these issues, Gingrich said, and then "find more winning arguments and continue the blitz."
But, Gingrich was blunt in stating what the end result would be if Republican lawmakers failed to take full advantage of their role as the majority party in both houses of Congress.
"If Republicans have built and maintained an effective, commonsense offense of popular legislative agenda, they will win in November. If not, they will lose. It is that simple," Gingrich concluded.
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