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Fulcher: Next four years will test conservatives

by CRAIG NORTHRUP
Staff Writer | January 21, 2021 1:00 AM

Congressman Russ Fulcher told the Coeur d’Alene Press on Wednesday that if President Joe Biden’s first hours in office are any indication, Republicans will have their work cut out for them over the next four years.

“I think those of us more conservative in nature are going to have to have our A-game going in here,” Fulcher said a little over six hours after Biden took office. “It’s difficult to get into proactive-mode when you’re reacting to things all the time. We’ve got to figure out how to be able to do that, because I think a lot of things are going to be coming down the pike that [aren’t] necessarily what those of us on the conservative front want to see.”

President Biden’s first day in office included 17 executive orders, many of which unwound policies implemented by former President Donald Trump.

Fulcher highlighted Biden’s executive orders on immigration — which, among other actions, eliminates Trump’s ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries and halts construction on the border wall — as one of many harbingers of a liberal agenda that gave the Idaho 1st District representative pause.

“[Biden’s] policies with immigration lend to a lot of potential nefarious activities with cartels, with illegal immigration and the works,” Fulcher said. “I think we’re going to be tested."

Fulcher also warned against President Biden’s executive order canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, an Alberta-based pipeline that runs to both Texas and Illinois. The project — which has already completed three of its four phases — has come under fire from environmental groups, indigenous groups and land owners threatened with eminent domain.

“I’m concerned about this energy policy, about blocking the Keystone pipeline,” Fulcher said. “Those are the types of things that can upset the balance of power worldwide. If you’re in a position to export, you’re in a very strong position worldwide. His policies don’t lend to that.”

President Biden’s inauguration day speech focused on finding American unity, a concept that seemed for many out of reach two weeks ago. On Jan. 6, a Washington, D.C., rally Trump keynoted devolved into a riot at the Capitol, killing five people, including a Capitol police officer.

But President Biden said Wednesday in his address he is eager for both the left and the right to find common ground.

“We can see each other not as adversaries but as neighbors,” Biden said. “We can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces, stop the shouting, and lower the temperature. For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury. No progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos.

"This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward. And, we must meet this moment as the United States of America.”

Fulcher said he liked President Biden’s speech and the sentiment behind it, and that he is guardedly optimistic about some of the president’s trade and commerce policies that will likely come the House of Representatives' way in the new session. However, he added that the full executive and legislative agenda to follow will be far more telling of how President Biden leans in the months and years to come.

“Some of the commerce ideas, some of the trade ideas, possibly. We’ll see what some of the specifics are. But let’s face it: He’s the president. We need to do the best we can to work with him.”