The PJ Tatler

Kentucky Dem: New GOP Majority Needs to Resist 'Urge to Overreach'

A Kentucky Democrat said Republicans enjoying House and Senate majorities next month will be faced with “resisting the urge to overreach” in the new Congress.

Rep. John Yarmuth, who left the GOP during the Reagan era, said this past Congress was marked by “consistent efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act or to undermine it, to eliminate environmental protections, to weaken labor unions.”

“If they stay on that agenda and don’t focus on a positive agenda to help middle-class America, then I think that’s their biggest challenge, because there’s a real risk of their doing that,” Yarmuth told MSNBC today.

The congressman was one of the House group of eight negotiating compromise immigration reform legislation.

He said securing the border “has become a talking point of the Republicans in Congress, when they’re trying to explain why they won’t do comprehensive immigration reform.”

“It’s — the mantra is we need to secure the borders first, before we do all the other things, worrying about the 11 or 12 million undocumented immigrants and what we’re going to do with them and employer enforcement and so forth,” Yarmuth said. “But again, reality is that the border is very secure. And if we’re looking for kind of zero border crossings, that’s never going to happen. But again, I think this is just a rationalization that they use to explain why they’re not doing a comprehensive bill.”

“And that’s — you know, I hope that Speaker Boehner, when he’s talking about overturning the president’s action, means that we’ll legislate in that area, because that’s what the president and Democrats in Congress have been challenging Republicans to do for two years now.”

Yarmuth added that he doesn’t what Republicans will be able to do to counter President Obama’s action on Cuba, as he “clearly has the authority to do what he’s done.”

“People are going to be looking at the polls on this. The majority of the American people support the president’s move. The policy we have in place, I think as the president very compellingly made the case, is that we’ve been doing the same thing for over 50 years and it hasn’t worked. We need to try something different,” he said.

“…So I think that Republicans have limited options … to actually counter what the president’s done. And I think they risk in alienating an awful lot of people in the country if they try to move legislatively.”