Center-Right Republicans Want to Lead the Way in the Trump Era

IJReview
December 19, 2016
Joe Perticone

While President-elect Donald Trump is on his way to assembling one of the most conservative cabinets in modern history, an organization representing the GOP’s center-right, swing state members of Congress is positioning itself to take the lead in coming years.

Republican Main Street Partnership, a group of representatives and senators who win in states that swing every color to the left of imperial red, is already seizing on Trump’s victory.

Sarah Chamberlain, the group’s president and CEO, told Independent Journal Review in an interview that the first task will be repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”

However, Obamacare in its entirety will not disappear, Chamberlain said:

“So first of all, ACA will probably never totally go away because we will keep the provisions of the kids on until they’re 26 and the no pre-existing conditions.”

The plan that Main Street is trying to coalesce around includes allowing insurance sales across state lines and increasing purchasing periods to two years instead of one “so they have an idea of what their pool is going to look like would be helpful,” Chamberlain said.

Chamberlain added that a potential Obamacare replacement might include a heftier fine than is currently in place for the Americans who choose to not purchase health insurance.

“The other thing we’re doing is maybe upping — if you don’t have insurance — maybe upping the fee you have to pay to encourage you to get the insurance.”

Another item on the legislative agenda could include legislation focused on substantial reforms to child care in the United States.

As Independent Journal Review previously reported, Ivanka Trump has been lobbying members of Congress to begin the process of implementing reforms for families and children.

“She’s calling some to talk about the child care provisions… It’s gonna be a big issue for her.”

For congressional Republicans as a whole, the future looks bright. For Main Street, however, there are potential obstacles.

While a Main Street member, Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke, has been nominated to serve as the next Secretary of the Interior, Trump’s cabinet-level positions have been beefed up with conservative hardliners such as his attorney general nominee, Jeff Sessions, Office of Management and Budget Director nominee, Mick Mulvaney, and Environmental Protection Administrator nominee, Scott Pruitt.

Also posing a potential threat to the agenda set forth by the various members of the Main Street group are the House’s conservative stalwarts in the Freedom Caucus, who regularly stage showdowns over fiscal issues involving the budget and large government projects.

Chamberlain’s line of thinking is that Trump will govern from the center, not from the far right. While Trump has so far assembled a relatively conservative White House, his top agenda items, such as an infrastructure stimulus, are middle-of-the-road policies.

“[Infrastructure] is certainly not a far-right proposal that he’s talking about,” she said.

However, the furthest right individual in Trump’s inner circle is the one pushing the massive infrastructure plan. The president-elect’s incoming senior counsel and former Breitbart.com C.E.O Stephen Bannon, is the mind behind the massive infrastructure plan, telling The Hollywood Reporter that he is “the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan,

“With negative interest rates throughout the world, it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything.”

But Chamberlain insisted that House conservatives will get in line behind Trump, regardless of potentially expensive projects.

“How do the Freedom Caucus members go against the president when they supported Donald Trump in all their districts and their districts, overwhelmingly, Donald Trump carried.”

Republican hardliners are a formidable force for the party’s more moderate members, but remain in the minority. Chamberlain’s hope is that they will unite around the president’s agenda, which she believes is not a far right one.

“They’ve only ever been active when we’ve had a Democratic president, now we have our own,” she added. “So the hope is that they come together, work together.”