Very possibly anticipating a Republican Senate as well as a House of Representatives with an even larger Republican majority after the voting tonight, the White House signaled to Newsmax on Election Day that the president might be willing to sign some proposals enacted by the next Congress if they have bipartisan support.
At the regular briefing for reporters at the White House Tuesday, press secretary Josh Earnest specifically addressed a memorandum to Republican House members from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., seeking suggestions on how to reform government.
"[I]f they pass the House and start to move along in the Senate, they will get close examination from the White House," President Barack Obama's top spokesman told Newsmax.
After several questions from reporters about which prospective legislation from a Republican-controlled Congress the president would sign or veto, Newsmax pointed out to Earnest that many Republican lawmakers hoped to pass measures in the next Congress that would have backing from Democrats — most likely, repeal of the tax on medical devices contained in Obamacare and the Upton Amendment.
That amendment essentially makes good on the president's reassurance that "if you like your policy, you can keep it," and which sailed through the House last year with every Republican vote and those of 39 Democrats.
Along with these two pieces of legislation likely to be dealt with by the next Congress, Newsmax also asked Earnest about the 1,410-word memo from McCarthy two weeks ago calling on his GOP colleagues to suggest ways in which House committees can enact new regulatory reform.
McCarthy wrote: "As you know, we have passed a number of government-wide reforms to the regulatory process, such as increasing public input in the regulatory process, requiring agencies to adopt the least costly proposal, and requiring regulators to limit the impact of regulations on small businesses."
Would the president consider signing any of these items if they passed Congress with bipartisan support?
"Well, we'll have to see [and] the Senate will have to act on these pieces of legislation, if they choose to do so," Earnest told Newsmax. "I can tell you, as a general matter, the president does stand ready to work with Democrats and Republicans who are interested in policies that benefit middle-class families."
Saying he hasn't studied "each of the specific proposals that are mentioned by Mr. McCarthy in his memo," Earnest said, "I can assure you if they pass the House and start to move in the Senate, they will get close examination from the White House.
"Regardless of the outcome of the election, the president will stand ready to work with Democrats and Republicans, whether they are in the majority or minority, to try to advance the prospects of middle-class Americans."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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