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Opinion: Republicans, don’t jeopardize election chances


Republicans are on track for a major victory in November and likely in 2024 as well. Joe Biden is a historically unpopular president. Since President Harry Truman, no Democratic president has had worse numbers at this point in his presidency. After a year in office, a Quinnipiac poll showed his approval rating was a lowly 33 percent. Another poll, conducted by Fox News, found that 60 percent said they would vote for an unnamed candidate over Biden. Vice President Kamala Harris doesn’t do much better. Her approval rating is 39 percent, which is significantly lower than her predecessor, Mike Pence.

The chaos is not confined to the top — Democrats in Congress are a mess. In the House of Representatives, Democrats are retiring at a breakneck pace. Twenty-eight have already announced that they will either not seek re-election or will run for a different office. To put that in perspective, heading into the historic 1994 midterm elections, in which Republicans took control of the House for the first time in 40 plus years, there were 31 Democratic retirements.

In the Senate, progressives and moderates are at each other’s throats, and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) has miscalculated repeatedly with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona). After back-to-back failures on the massive spending package and their attempt to kill the filibuster, Senate Democrats have their tail between their legs. Republicans are in a strong position to gain a seat or two, giving them a slim majority.

After two years of complete Democratic control in Washington, 2022 is not looking like it will be a kind election year for their party.

Despite everything that is going in their favor, Republicans must not do anything to jeopardize their chances in the midterms. The fastest way to do so would be to work with a highly unpopular Democrat senator on a “bipartisan” issue that is anything but. According to press reports, Illinois Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin wants to implement federal price controls on the fees that retailers pay when they accept credit card transactions. This is exactly the kind of mistake that I fear some Republicans in Washington could make.

This proposal has been field-tested, and the results were terrible. As part of the Dodd-Frank banking bill, Durbin inserted a last-minute amendment that implemented price controls on debit card transactions, without significant debate or input.  Unfortunately, Durbin was able to convince a handful of Republicans to go along with his amendment.

Consumers paid the price, big time. As a result of the policy, banks were forced to cut benefits like free checking accounts and rewards programs. Retailers did not cut prices for consumers. The policy was a failure for American consumers, but a win for a handful of big retailers such as Amazon and Walmart.

If Durbin and his progressive allies get their way now and extend these same regulations to credit cards, the results will be even worse for Missourians. Consumers could lose up to $50 billion a year if rewards programs are cut or canceled. No fee credit cards could become a thing of the past.

Voters will not reward Republicans for working across the aisle with a lifelong progressive, like Durbin, on an issue that will hurt consumers and benefit Amazon. I am proud that we have two strong, conservative Republican leaders in Sens. Josh Hawley and Roy Blunt. They have a history of fighting for Missouri consumers, and I believe they will continue to do so.