WASHINGTON -- The New Year will ring in a new reality on Capitol Hill. With Republicans set to take over the House of Representatives, there will be plenty of changes in store.
Incoming House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and his GOP posse are ready to turn up the heat on the Obama administration.
"The lame-duck Congress should do the right thing and vote immediately to cut spending and stop all the tax hikes," Boehner said in a written statement. "If they don't, the new House majority will in January."
So, what will it look like when the smoke clears?
While former House Speaker Newt Gingrich acknowledged the threat of political gridlock, he told CBN News "I think it depends more on the attitude of the president."
GOP House Agenda
President Obama is going to have to figure out how to adjust to a loaded GOP arsenal. Republicans plan to push at least $100 billion worth of budget cuts, ranging from food stamps to the various White House "czar" positions.
Other GOP priorities include a major push on earmark reform and bringing government spending back to levels before President Obama's term.
In addition, former Sen. George Allen, R-Va., told CBN News that the GOP plans to go after $12 billion in unspent stimulus money.
"Whatever has not been spent in stimulus spending which has created no jobs but higher debt - all of that needs to be rescinded as quickly as is possible," Allen said.
The GOP's biggest target, however, is "Obamacare." Getting rid of the new healthcare law is a critical issue for the newly empowered Tea Party movement. Tea Party favorite Rep. Michele Bachman, R-Minn., warns the GOP better deliver.
"If the Republican leadership in the House fails to do anything less than a full scale repeal of Obamacare, I think that would be taken as a compromise, as a bridge too far, for people in the Tea Party," she told CBN News.
A vote to repeal Obamacare will most likely take place in the House, but would go nowhere in the Democrat-controlled Senate and White House.
Consequently, the Tea Party will have to temporarily settle for more of a piecemeal approach, with the goal of laying the groundwork for a full repeal down the road.
Such a strategy might include:
- An attempt to cut off funding for parts of the law.
- Congressional oversight hearings highlighting items like potential premium increases.
- New burdens on state budgets.
Cooperation, Not Compromise
Such a game plan will have to do for now because no matter how much conservative legislation the GOP House passes, it won't go anywhere without a presidential signature.
So how does anything get accomplished in that scenario? Gingrich has an idea.
"They should cooperate, but not compromise," he suggested. "For example, they shouldn't accept a tax increase under any circumstance."
"But there may be 20 different ways to approach the deficit that don't involve taxes," he added.
House Tea Party Caucus
That might be where the newly elected Tea Party members come into play. Many will join the House Tea Party Caucus led by Rep. Bachman.
"Every week we'll start our week with a class on the Constitution and how maybe bills that we're working on fit in with the Constitution - real time application," Bachman explained.
One guest speaker on the list includes influential evangelical David Barton, founder of WallBuilders, and his Christian perspective on American history.
"The Judeo-Christian heritage isn't a belief," Bachman said. "It's a fact of our nation's history. It's a fact."
And there's another fact Bachman is bringing to the table:
"One thing we know from the Book of Isaiah is that Isaiah tells us that the government is on His shoulders," she said. "We can trust a holy, almighty God with our future and nothing is too big for Him."
--Originally published Dec. 9, 2010.