WASHINGTON (AP) — With passage of an enormous budget bill, the GOP-controlled Congress all but wrapped up its legislating for the year. But will it be enough to convince voters to give Republicans another two years at the helm?
In two big ways, Republicans have done what they promised. They passed a long sought tax overhaul bill that slashed tax rates. They’ve rolled back regulations, in ways they claim are boosting the economy.
But there are signs Americans wanted more: immigration reforms, gun control legislation, even an infrastructure plan that President Donald Trump promised voters. Tax cuts, for now, will have to do.
“It’s very clear that tax reform was going to be the biggest legislative crown jewel of this Congress,” said Matt Gorman, the spokesman for the House GOP’s campaign arm, the National Republican Congressional Committee. “That is a massive centerpiece of our campaign.”
But polls swing wildly these days, strategists said. Voters are rarely focused for too long on single issues that can make or break campaigns, as when Republicans seized control of the House in 2010 amid the economic downturn or Democrats pushed to the majority in 2006 over opposition to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Trump’s mixed messages on the GOP’s accomplishments only make the campaigning more difficult. At the White House on Friday, he toyed with a veto of the $1.3 trillion budget package, complaining it lacked his immigration deal and smacked of overspending, before ultimately signing it. Such shifting views leave Republicans without a reliable partner as they try to push through political headwinds in what’s expected to be a tough battle for majority control of the House and Senate.