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McConnell Faces Hurdles In Setting GOP Agenda

Josh James

Sen. Mitch McConnell is promising to reshape the agenda in Washington, but it's unclear what bills, if any, could avoid the president's veto pen.

Though there were a few hints of small olive branches in McConnell’s victory speech Tuesday - a line here and there lamenting the "perpetual conflict" on Capitol Hill - the crowd at party headquarters seemed far more primed for a Republican revolution.

Still, with slim majority in the Senate and a Democrat still in the Oval Office, the prospects for turning legislation into law appear no less daunting than before the election.

Often tossed out as candidates for common ground are tax reform and Obama’s stalled trade deal, but some Republicans back home have different ideas for what should top McConnell’s agenda.

"Obamacare," State Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer names, right out of the gate. He adds, "The strategy overseas. We've got to project strength, not weakness."

McConnell has made it clear on the campaign trail that some GOP priorities, such as repealing the Affordable Care Act, will be non-starters with Obama still in office. But he’s pointed to smaller targets such as the Medical Device Tax and the individual mandate as potential elements the Senate might chip away at  under his leadership.  

Other items, such as the Keystone Pipeline and a number of House-approved jobs bills, seem all but certain to appear on the docket.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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