After the Republican health care bill was pulled from consideration last week, concerns mount about how its failure will impact the future of the GOP agenda. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA) discussed the future of health care as well as Republican efforts to pass tax reform and an infrastructure plan.
The question facing the GOP now is whether the political fallout from the failed bill will force them to set aside concerns over the government’s mounting deficit and pass a tax reform plan that would include major tax cuts. According to Gingrich, Republicans should focus more on a big tax cut that would drive job growth.
“I’d rather have a big tax cut with a lot of jobs than a small tax cut that the green eye shade accountants can be happy with that don’t create any jobs,” Gingrich told the FOX Business Network’s Neil Cavuto.
But despite Republican calls to achieve tax reform by August, Gingrich proposed that Republicans should take on infrastructure first.
“The first thing they ought to do is open up the whole issue of infrastructure. You can get at least half the Democratic Party to work with you to pass an infrastructure bill. You can start to build a Trump majority, which is bigger than the Republican majority.”
This ‘Trump majority’ would lead to a broader coalition that could make it easier to get more of the Republican agenda through Congress in the future.
“It lets you go to every Democrat and every Republican and say ‘in terms of safety, creating jobs, and quality of life, what do you need in your district, what do you need in your state?’ And you can bring together a bipartisan coalition, get them in the habit of working together.”
That is why Gingrich suggests addressing tax reform after infrastructure and then returning to the issue of health care.
“I would do infrastructure, I would do taxes in a big way and then I would go back to health after I did those two.”
Gingrich views the health care bill as an ‘insider’ plan in an era of an anti-establishment president.
“It was just a wrong design. It neglected everything Reagan and Thatcher taught us. It neglected everything we did right in welfare reform and balanced budget and it went out and tried to write an insider bill in the age of Donald Trump. This is not a country that wants insider-game playing. You have to think of the legislative branch as being part of the swamp too.”
Democrats lost a majority in Congress after the push for HillaryCare in the 1990s and again in 2010 with the passage of ObamaCare. Gingrich warned Republicans would have potentially suffered the same fate if they passed the health care plan.
“If we had all of our House Republicans line up and vote yes on bill that was at 17% approval, that means four out of five Americans were not approving, and I’ll guarantee you the Democrats would have had a field day. So I think the Freedom Caucus, whether they intended to or not, may have saved House Republicans from a vote that would have been potentially very destructive.”