Lacking Legislative Accomplishments Falls on Congress. Not a White House Aide.

Yesterday was an eventful day for observers of the U.S. Senate race in North Dakota. It also turned out to be a day Kevin Cramer likely hopes people will forget. Let’s unpack the latest.

The morning started with a Politico report highlighting the GOP concerns with Heitkamp’s working relationship with President Trump. It revealed Cramer’s pattern of “bitterly” complaining to the White House. I discuss that pattern here. Then early in the afternoon, audio was released of Kevin Cramer defending Will Gardner, who dropped out of the Secretary of State’s race after revelations he was prowling around NDSU peeping in girl’s dorm windows. His day ended with another example of his constant complaining about the White House. Specifically, he blamed an Executive branch aid for Legislative branch failure to pass legislation.

During one of his radio appearances,  Cramer lashed out about White House legislative affairs director Marc Short. “If Marc Short was very good at his job, you know, we’d have a repeal and replacement of Obamacare, we’d have a replacement of the venting and flaring rule,” Cramer said. Perhaps Cramer is signaling out Short in his latest complaint because it was Short that invited Heitkamp to the White House for the bill signing ceremony last week. The bill she cosponsored and helped through the legislative process.

It is amazing to see a member of the legislative branch blaming someone in the executive branch for failed legislation. Perhaps a civics lesson is in order. It’s the latest installment of Cramer’s complaints about the White House he is so desperate to utilize in his race against Heitkamp.

As for blaming the White House for failing to accomplish “repeal and replace” of Obamacare, it is time for a refresher. Kevin Cramer voted over 60 times to repeal Obamacare when he knew it wouldn’t become law. Instead of formulating a replacement plan that works, he publicly admitted those votes were simply for “symbolism.” What a waste.

Cramer serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. This is where the failed 2017 repeal and replace plan originated in secrecy. Their lack of practical solutions were on display for the entire country to see. Cramer and his colleagues wouldn’t allow the Senate or the public to view their bad bill. He then voted for the rushed bill not knowing the impacts on North Dakotans.

Ultimately, the rushed attempt failed. What was so frustrating about those partisan efforts was it tanked the bipartisan talks taking place in the Senate. Perhaps if Congress had come together and crafted a workable solution and allowed input from others willing to make improvements to health care policy, a bill would have passed. That is how the legislative branch is supposed to work. Unfortunately, they chose the unworkable partisan path that started in the House. Lacking legislative accomplishments falls on people like Cramer, not a White House aide.

Tyler Axness