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Johnson Joins CQ Roll Call Podcast to Discuss Future of the GOP
WASHINGTON, April 1, 2021 — United States Representative Mike Johnson (LA-04) joined CQ Roll Call’s “Future” podcast this week to discuss the future of the Republican Party, the House Democrat agenda, and other news of the day.
Listen to the full episode here, and see excerpts below:
On what the Republican Party needs to do to win in the future:
“I think this is actually pretty simple. I think there's a tendency to overcomplicate things, but I genuinely believe that our party and the country are in a similar situation as we were say in the mid-1970s. I’ve often quoted, as many conservatives do, remembering fondly the time Ronald Reagan said, ‘you know a lot of people think that we may need to pitch a third party,’ and he rejected that. As Reagan said in 1975, ‘this is the time for us to paint with bold colors and not speak in pale pastels. We need to present a real vision. We need to explain to the American people what it is we're for, and what solutions we have to the challenges facing the country.’
“I think we're in a similar time, and we know the result was ultimately that Ronald Reagan was able to bring in a new revolution. He also said famously in his farewell address, ‘you know they call me the great communicator, but I wasn't that. I was just communicating great things. And they're the same great things that have guided our nation since its founding.’ That's my paraphrase of his message, and I believe that that's what should guide us today.”
On the potential for bipartisanship this Congress:
“I'll tell you honestly what I believe is in the heart of all my colleagues on the Republican side—I think that there really is a desire for bipartisanship. I believe that there is a desire for us to govern well, and govern together, and do what it is that you're supposed to do in a constitutional republic.
“One of the presuppositions is that you'll have people with very different philosophies and ideas, and policy preferences, who will come together and be able to forge a consensus. As difficult as it is sometimes, it's necessary to move the country forward. And we're losing that… I think there's a lot of people on both sides of the aisle who long for the days of working together, moving things forward.”
On the potential for infrastructure legislation this year:
Question: “If the infrastructure bill tracks with what we're hearing—which is trillions of dollars in new spending, and trillions of dollars in new taxes—how are Republicans going to react?”
MJ: “Well, it'll be straight down party lines. And again, that would be a great tragedy. One of the few issues perhaps, that you could still forge a bipartisan consensus on, is infrastructure. Because everyone needs it in their districts. Even those, like me, who believe in the principles of limited government, we understand that infrastructure is one of the proper roles of the government.
“But it has to do with priorities. We should prioritize the spending, and not just go back to the printing press every time we want to do some sort of big government wish list. That's what the other team is advocating for right now without apology. And I think that is a completely counterproductive political strategy. It's also obviously not good for the country. We have a $28 trillion federal debt. We've now eclipsed gross domestic product. I think at last count, we're at 102% debt to GDP. I mean, this is not a sustainable track.
“So, what Republicans want to do is fix the roads and bridges, and not engage in all this other nonsense. The Democrats know that. But so far, they've shown an unwillingness to come across the aisle and work with us to do something meaningful for the American people. So again, if they continue on this track, you'll get a straight party line vote.”