Raleigh, N.C. — As President-elect Donald Trump made the rounds on Capitol Hill on Thursday, sketching out the priorities of his administration with congressional leaders, two Triangle-area congressmen from political parties said they hope to work with the next president.
"It’s going to make a big difference to have the chief executive in the White House that will sign the bills that we can get through both the House and the Senate," Republican 7th District Congressman David Rouzer said.
Rouzer called President Barack Obama "very standoffish," saying he prefers to govern through executive orders rather than engage Congress to craft legislation.
"I don't think you’re going to see that kind of attitude from a President Trump. I think you’ll see him work very closely with the House and Senate and with Democrats as well," Rouzer said.
"I’ll cooperate where I can and resist where I must," Democratic 4th District Congressman David Price said. "We have a peaceful transition of power in this country, and we have a duty, I think, to try to come together on things like infrastructure investment.
"On other things, we’re going to live to fight another day," he said, citing Trump's pledges to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico and to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which has provided health insurance to millions of people who previously didn't have coverage.
"That is a terrible idea, and I hope that cooler heads will prevail in terms of how they handle it," Price said of the ACA repeal.
Rouzer said the Republican-led House can easily vote to repeal the health law commonly referred to as "Obamacare" – the chamber has already cast several such votes and dozens more to withhold funding for it or delay its various mandates – but Trump will have to work with Democrats in a closely divided Senate to get a chance to sign any repeal legislation into law.
Trump, who wrote a book on his business accomplishments called "The Art of the Deal," should have no trouble negotiating with both Republicans and Democrats in Congress, Rouzer said.
"He has great political instincts," he said. "He understands the American people and what they want and what the country needs, and I think people are going to be really surprised at how well he does work with Congress."
Congress also has to recognize the power Tuesday's election win has given to Trump, Rouzer added, saying the next president will be transparent with the public and will be able to fulfill most of his campaign promises.
"President-elect Trump is going to have a good strong mandate," he said. "The American people have spoken, and there’s a strong consensus all around the country, at least a strong majority, that really want to pursue a repeal and replacement of Obamacare."
Price dismissed the notion that Trump's win is a mandate for government overhaul, noting that Democrat Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, that Democrats also picked up some seats in Congress and that divisions remain within the GOP.
"I wouldn’t call it much of a mandate," he said. "I would hope that, on both sides, there’s a little humility, a little understanding that the American people are closely divided, that nobody has an overwhelming mandate. If there is a mandate, it’s to find some way to work together."