In an interview on Fox News Radio’s “Benson and Harf” with Guy Benson and Marie Harf, United States Senator Lamar Alexander said we have the “best economy in 18 years, lower taxes, the biggest reform in 31 years, and more support for the military than in 15 years” with a Republican president and Republican-led Congress.
"I think Republicans have been much too defensive," said Senator Alexander. "We got so busy criticizing Congress when President Obama was president, that we enjoyed it so much we just kept doing it after we had a Republican president and Republican Congress. This is the best economy in 18 years. This is the biggest tax change in 31 years. This is more support for the military than 15 years ago. And I think we have to keep talking about it. I do think that the more the economy booms, the more the unemployment rates go down, people are going to connect that to the Republican president and Republican Congress."
You can listen to the full interview here and read a partial transcript below.
Marie Harf: I was reading the story about this effort that you and your colleague Senator Cruz are undertaking right now and I find it fascinating that your sort of circulating a survey among your Republican colleagues asking about their support for dozens of legislative proposals. And this of course, against the backdrop of Leader McConnell canceling much of August recess, giving you all a little more time to work on things. The list seems really interesting – taking another stab at repealing and replacing Obamacare, round two of tax cuts. Can you tell us A, what prompted you to undertake what I actually think is a really fascinating effort, and also B, what you’re finding so far from talking to your colleagues about these priorities?
Senator Alexander: Well, I can tell you the first. The first is we're painfully aware that only eight years in the last 86, since 1932, have Republicans had both the presidency and the Congress, and if there's one more thing we can pass with 51 votes, we want to do it. Having said that, we believe that in the first 18 months we've gotten more done with the president than about any conservative government in 30 years. When you add up the economy and taxes and support for the military, regulations, Supreme Court Justice. I even carry a little card around with me to give to doubting Thomases on that. But if we can find one thing that we all agree on, and we have to all agree on it, that we could do, we don't want to miss the opportunity to do it.
Harf: Are there any issues in the running right now for that one thing?
Alexander: Well, there are a lot and so I don't want to prejudge the survey. Senator Ted Cruz, it’s Ted Cruz's idea, which I think is a good one. He asked me to work with him on it and I am. We're going to report to our caucus in July and to Senator McConnell and see what we can do. What we'd have to do is go through the budget reconciliation process, which sounds kind of wonky, but it takes a couple of weeks to do. So we're not going to start that unless we know we can succeed.
Guy Benson: So I just want to back up to something you just said. You have cards printed up with Republican accomplishments that you can hand to people who say you’re not doing enough?
Alexander: I absolutely do. When I'm in Tennessee, I'll sit down with three or four Republicans and they'll say, ‘Why don't you guys ever do anything?’ And I'll hand them this card and I say, ‘Okay, I can do this in 30 seconds – Best Economy of 18 years, lower taxes, biggest reform in 31 years, more support for the military than in 15 years, regulations, Supreme Court justice, one eighth of all the appeals judges…’ And by the time I get through they say, ‘Oh, I didn't know that.’
Benson: It’s like an elevator pitch and a fact check all rolled into one.
Alexander: Well it is. And I gave it to the president, I said, ‘Mr. President, add a sentence to your speech, say you've accomplished more than everybody,’ but then say, ‘But I couldn't have done it without Republican majority,’ or there won't be a good reason to elect another Republican majority.
Benson: … What’s it going to take for Republicans to make sure that you’re getting credit for the things that you’ve done at the ballot box in November?
Alexander: That's why I carry around my card. I think we've been much too defensive. We got so busy criticizing the Republican Congress, or the Congress, when President Obama was president, that we enjoyed it so much we just kept doing it after we had a Republican president and Republican Congress, and even Republicans don't stop and think, look, this is the best economy at 18 years. This is the biggest tax change in 31 years. This is more support for the military than 15 years ago. And I think we have to keep talking about it. I do think that the more the economy booms, the more the unemployment rates go down, people are going to connect that to the Republican president and Republican Congress. And I do see the generic difference between Democrat and Republican voters narrowing. And I think the tax bill is the main reason for it.
Benson: What’s the status on health care, generally?... What are you guys trying to do to help Americans who see their costs rising because of Obamacare?
Alexander: Within the next week, the Secretary of Labor is going to make a final regulation that will allow millions more Americans, self-employed people, people who work for small businesses, to have access to the employer market. About 180 million of us get our insurance on the job. Our insurance is cheaper because we get a tax break. This has protections for preexisting conditions, other protections like that. We're going to make that available in Association Health Plans. So that's the step that we can take.