We all know that after the Republican takeover last November, we now have a Republican Congress of both houses with the House led by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and the Senate led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). And much of the credit given to many big business and conservative lobbyists, along with super PACs shelling money into their Republican candidates and demonizing their Democratic “socialists,” as many call them. However, K Street isn’t just about winning. It is about pushing through legislation favorable for the interests that each group represents. It is about utilizing the so-called “revolving door,” “Iron Triangle,” and pluralistic theories.
Before I go on, let me define some of the terms aforementioned for probably not all of you have been studying American Government through CNN and Andrew Boufford as extensively as I have been.
Mini lesson on Interest Groups
“Revolving Door”– where government officials leave federal government for lucrative positions in private companies thereby providing those private companies with conflicts of interest in public policy
“Iron Triangle”– the theory of “subgovernment” where legislative committees, bureaucratic agencies, and interest groups interact in ways that benefit one another
Pluralism– theory in favor of interest groups that interest group activity brings representation to all and its processes contribute fully to democratic processes
Back to the topic, K Street hopes through the new one-party Congressional rule that it can help push through some patent, trade, and tax reform laws. The healthcare lobbies, in particular, may now look to repeal and/or amend parts of Obamacare, such as the medical devices tax. And the banking/finance lobbies may try to reform parts of the Dodd-Frank law.
While a one-party Congress may seem to help Republicans push through agenda easier than before, there have already been several issues facing contention between Republicans in Congress and President Obama. One thing is the re-definition of a workweek from 30-hour to 40-hour, something that President Obama had threatened to use veto power. Another, is the Keystone XL pipeline.
So while the face of Congress is changing, one cannot be sure of what the future holds. Would Republicans really come out as the be-all-end-all savior to the congressional dysfunction of the 113th Congress? Would K Street push through their own reforms? Or would the Democrats prove to Americans (once again!) that all Republicans do is create deadlock and significant obstacles in our political process?
To quote Marty DePoy, spokesman for Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism, “We came so close last time we are not taking any chances this time.”
—Eric Huang, Edison NJ