Posts Tagged Ohio
At 11th Hour, G.O.P. Blinks in Standoff
Doug Mills/The New York Times
Speaker John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, emerged from a meeting with Republican House members on Thursday.
Published: October 16, 2013
WASHINGTON — Congressional Republican leaders conceded defeat Wednesday in their budget fight with President Obama over the new health care law, agreeing to support a reopening of the government and a lifting of the nation’s borrowing authority in exchange for future budget negotiations.
Speaker John A. Boehner, the leader of conservative House Republicans whose push to strip money for the health law led to the shuttering of much of the government on Oct. 1, said that the House would not block a bipartisan agreement reached in the Senate that yielded virtually no concessions to the Republicans.
“The fight will continue,” Mr. Boehner said in a statement. “But blocking the bipartisan agreement reached today by members of the Senate will not be a tactic for us.”
The decision came about 24 hours before the Treasury was due to exhaust its borrowing authority, putting the nation on the brink of a default. Mr. Boehner had earlier told colleagues privately that he would not allow the nation to default.
Under the agreement, the government would be funded through Jan. 15, and the debt ceiling would be raised until Feb. 7. The Senate will take up a separate motion to instruct House and Senate negotiators to reach accord by Dec. 13 on a long-term blueprint for tax and spending policies over the next decade.
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, stressed that under the deal, which he negotiated with Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, budget cuts extracted in the 2011 fiscal showdown were not reversed, as some Democrats had wanted, a slim reed that not even he claimed as a significant victory.
The deal, Mr. McConnell said, “is far less than many of us hoped for, quite frankly, but far better than what some had sought.”
“It’s time for Republicans to unite behind other crucial goals,” he added.
With Senate Republican hard-liners promising cooperation, the Senate is expected to move first. Progress slowed as the deal’s framework was being translated into detailed legislative language. The Senate vote was expected in the early evening. The House would then follow, with a final vote likely around midnight.
Earlier, a Democratic leader had said the Senate would provide the legislative language to the House, which would vote first.
Chastened Senate Republicans said they hoped the outcome would be a learning experience for lawmakers in the House and the Senate who shut down the government in hopes of gutting Mr. Obama’s signature domestic achievement, the Affordable Care Act. Instead of using the twin deadlines of an end to government funding and borrowing authority to address the drivers of the federal deficit, conservatives focused on a law they could never undo as long as Mr. Obama is president, several senators said.
“We took some bread crumbs and left an entire meal on the table,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina. “This has been a really bad two weeks for the Republican Party.”
Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, took a swipe at Senators Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, and Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, as well as House members who linked further funding of the government to gutting the health care law, which is financed by its own designated revenues and spending cuts.
“Let’s just say sometimes learning what can’t be accomplished is an important long-term thing,” Mr. Burr said, “and hopefully for some of the members they’ve learned it’s impossible to defund mandatory programs by shutting down the federal government.”
But while Mr. Cruz conceded defeat, he did not express contrition.
“Unfortunately, the Washington establishment is failing to listen to the American people,” he said as he emerged from a meeting of Senate Republicans called to ratify the agreement.
Mr. Cruz promised not to use parliamentary tactics to block a final vote, raising hopes that the government will be opened and the debt ceiling will be lifted before Thursday, when the Treasury exhausts its borrowing authority.
“From our side, I don’t see any evidence of delay,” said Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky and a Cruz ally.
Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said that Mr. Obama supported the compromise reached by the Senate leaders, and he urged lawmakers in both chambers to pass it quickly.
Mr. Carney said the agreement “achieves what’s necessary” to reopen the federal government after 16 days, and removes “the threat of economic brinksmanship” that raised the possibility of a government default.
“We leave parliamentary procedures to the Congress,” he said. “But we obviously hope that each house will be able to act swiftly. We are already on Day 16 of a wholly unnecessary shutdown of government.”
House Democrats remained confused and angry. On a scale of 1 to 10, “this is a 12,” in terms of ridiculousness, said Jackie Speier, Democrat of California. “This is like a preschool that’s gone awry. I’ve been in public office for 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything like it.”
- Boehner Urges G.O.P. Unity in ‘Epic Battle’ – NYTimes.com (mbcalyn.com)
- G.O.P. Blues: Another Farcical Day on Capitol Hill (newyorker.com)
- Senate Leaders Adding Final Touches to Budget Deal (online.wsj.com)
- G.O.P. Helps Americans Like Government – NYTimes.com (mbcalyn.com)
- House Republicans work on plan to lift debt limit (marketwatch.com)
- U.S. faces debt ceiling crash at stroke of midnight (cnn.com)
- Senators seek budget deal, House GOP effort flops (charlotteobserver.com)
- 11th-Hour Senate Fiscal Deal in Works (nytimes.com)
- Can Boehner sell emerging fiscal deal? (firstread.nbcnews.com)
- The blink. And the blink after that. (cannonfire.blogspot.com)
House Republicans are offering a debt ceiling deal. What now?
October 10 at 1:54 pm
House Speaker John Boehner made it official on Thursday:g if the White House/Senate Democrats agree to negotiate over the terms of a budget resolution that would not only re-open the government but also address the broader debt and spending issues facing the country.
So, what now? Well, Boehner’s announcement, which came after a meeting to discuss the proposal with the entire Republican conference, raises as many questions as it answers. Among them:
In the immediate aftermath of the Boehner announcement on a temporary debt ceiling offer, his office bombarded reporters with quotes from President Obama, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and other Administration officials expressing their willingness to sign a short-term extension of the debt ceiling if that was what the House could pass. The White House statement that came after the Boehner press conference was far less encouraging on that front, however. “Congress needs to pass a clean debt limit increase and a funding bill to reopen the government,” said a White House official.
That statement can — and perhaps should — be read in a few ways.
First, a statement from the White House praising Boehner’s gambit would have almost certainly doomed its chances of passage through a Republican-controlled House. There are four dozen (or so) conservatives who oppose whatever Boehner says he is for but a whole lot more Republicans than that who would be suspicious about why the White House was so excited about a short-term extension of the debt ceiling.
Second, the White House has little interest in forfeiting the strength of their negotiating position before the President even sits down with the 18-member delegation of House GOPers set to visit the White House Thursday afternoon. President Obama has been consistent in his assertion that there will be no negotiation over either the debt ceiling or a funding measure to re-open the government. What Republicans are offering is that he can have one but not the other.
The White House needs to decide whether a clean debt ceiling vote — assuming Boehner can get that through the House (more on that below) — is enough to allow them to come to the negotiating table on broader budgetary issues where Republicans will undoubtedly demand some concessions on entitlement reform for a broader deal.
House Republicans were quite clear that the offer of a clean debt ceiling increase was entirely dependent on an agreement with President Obama to negotiate a broader budget deal. If Obama says “no” to that proposal, do House Republicans pull their offer of a clean debt ceiling vote or go forward with it regardless?
Pulling the offer would strengthen Boehner among the tea party wing of the party but would increase the likelihood that the the blame for a potential default would fall even more heavily on Republicans than polling suggests it already is.
Passing a clean debt ceiling increase without any concession from Obama would badly jeopardize Boehner’s standing in the party since it would almost certainly not pass with a majority of the Republican majority voting for it.
This is perhaps the most basic question in all of this. Boehner, as we have noted previously in this space,them this year. Does he want to do it again on something as high profile as the debt ceiling?
And, if Boehner doesn’t want to pass a debt ceiling increase with a majority of Democratic votes, can he do so with a majority of Republicans? Boehner himself has cast doubt on that possibility, telling . Did the vote-counting dynamic change that much over the past four days? Was Boehner simply playing possum over the weekend to strengthen his bargaining position? Boehner isn’t talking so it’s hard to answer those questions.
But, almost no matter what comes out of the meeting at the White House, Boehner’s power over his conference will be tested (again) in the coming days.
- Boehner: Let’s Lift Debt Ceiling – for 6 Weeks – White House sounds cool to speaker’s plan, wants gov’t reopened (mbcalyn.com)
- John Boehner’s Deal and How the Debt Ceiling Isn’t the Real Hostage. You Are. (thedailybanter.com)
- Senate GOP growing impatient with House (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- John Boehner offers President Obama temporary debt ceiling deal (telegraph.co.uk)
- Obama, Republicans continue talks to raise debt ceiling (timesofmalta.com)
- Pace Quickens on Budget Resolution – Wall Street Journal (online.wsj.com)
- House Republicans Propose Deal On Debt Ceiling, More Talk On Shutdown (wnyc.org)
- Ban Extraordinary Measures (dannyvinik.com)
- US Republicans in debt-ceiling offer (bbc.co.uk)
- We’re Not Going to Breach the Debt Ceiling (dannyvinik.com)
Why John Boehner might have no choice but ‘unconditional surrender’
The biggest takeaway from President Obama’s was confirmation that he would sit down and negotiate with Republicans if they passed short-term “clean” bills to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling.
“If they can’t do it for a long time, do it for the period of time in which these negotiations are taking place,” Obama said at the White House.
At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) wasn’t impressed. “What the president said today was, if there is unconditional surrender by Republicans, he’ll sit down and talk to us,” said Boehner.
The thing is, it might be Boehner’s best and only option for ending the standoff that has seized Washington.
Let’s take a closer look at why.
The government shutdown has reached its ninth day and Boehner’s outlook now is arguably worse than it was the start of the shutdown. the public blames congressional Republicans more than Obama, Democrats haven’t budged from their demand for a “clean” bill to fund the government, and the shutdown is encroaching on the deadline to raise the debt ceiling.
What Boehner needs is a solution, and fast — one, ideally, that satisfies the cast-iron conservatives as much as possible but can also win the support of the Democratic Senate and Obama.
So far, there are no obvious options. And previous efforts have led the speaker nowhere.
He has repeatedly called for Democrats to negotiate with him. They have repeatedly responded that they will only talk after the government is funded and the debt ceiling is raised. The House passed three stopgap spending bills leading up to the shutdown that took aim at Obamacare. The Senate swiftly rejected all of them.
In short, it’s been back to square one again and again.
Boehner has closed the door on the idea of voting for a clean continuing resolution to reopen the government and a clean bill to raise the debt limit. But a short-term version of both might be least painful way out of what’s proven to be a very tough situation for him.
If Boehner were to agree to a very short-term — say, six to eight weeks — debt ceiling extension and government funding bill, he could sell it to his conference as a chance to get Democrats to the negotiating table on health-care and spending. And in short order, Republicans would have some leverage once again, as yet another shutdown would be triggered without a deal and the risk of default would be resurrected without another debt ceiling increase.
Would it be easy to sell that plan to conservatives committed to gaining concessions from Democrats now? No. It would be difficult.
But consider the alternative. Obama’s not budging. Neither is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). If Boehner doesn’t either, he’d be left with a prolonged shutdown that polling shows has reflected poorly on Republicans. And he’d have a major stake in the potentially dire consequences of not raising the debt ceiling.
Viewed in that context, short-term bills suddenly don’t seem as tough to swallow.
There are no easy answers for Boehner. There are no endgames that don’t involve him absorbing more blame. But with the walls closing in and the options running out, what Boehner wrote off as “surrender” Tuesday might soon end up being the least painful path for him to walk.
- John Boehner On Debt Ceiling: Not Threatening Default Would Be ‘Unconditional Surrender’ (soshitech.com)
- Boehner: No unconditional surrender (wptv.com)
- Why John Boehner might have no choice but ‘unconditional surrender’ (washingtonpost.com)
- Boehner: White House wants ‘unconditional surrender’ (rare.us)
- BOEHNER: Obama Wants ‘Unconditional Surrender’ From GOP (businessinsider.com)
- John Boehner On Debt Ceiling: Not Threatening Default Would Be ‘Unconditional Surrender’ (kstreet607.com)
- John Boehner On Debt Ceiling: Not Threatening Default Would Be ‘Unconditional Surrender’ (hrexach.wordpress.com)
- House Republicans propose short-term debt limit hike (kmov.com)
- How The GOP Defines Surrender (dish.andrewsullivan.com)
- Republican options tapering to ‘surrender’ (japantimes.co.jp)
The House GOP has nothing to show for its government shutdown
By Editorial Board, Published: October 7
WHAT HAVE House Republicans managed to accomplish in a week of government shutdown?
Damage the livelihood of millions of Americans? Check. Government secretaries, food-truck operators, cleaners who work in motels near national parks: They’re all hurting.
Waste billions of taxpayer dollars? Check. It costs a lot to shut agencies, Web sites and parks, and it will cost a lot to reopen them. Meanwhile, the House has voted to pay the salaries, eventually, of hundreds of thousands of employees whom it has ordered not to work. That’s an odd way to manage an enterprise.
Interfere with key government operations? Check. The National Transportation Safety Board can’t investigate an accident last weekend on Metro’s Red Line that claimed the life of a worker. That could make future accidents more likely. On the other side of the world, U.S. allies from Tokyo to Singapore are wondering whether they can rely on a nation whose president has to go AWOL from a key summit meeting in their region.
Rattle the markets, slow an economy in recovery, interrupt potentially lifesaving research at the National Institutes of Health? Check, check and check.
Derail the hated Obamacare? Ch . . . — oh, no, wait a minute. That was the GOP’s ostensible purpose for this travesty of misgovernment, but the online insurance markets created by that law opened on schedule last week and continue to operate. In fact, the Republicans managed only to distract attention from the computer glitches that would have gobbled up all the news attention if the government weren’t shut.
In a revealing moment Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” host George Stephanopoulos replayed a clip from last year in which House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) explained the foolishness of the tactic that he is now, a year later, pursuing. “It’s pretty clear that the president was reelected,” Mr. Boehner said then. “Obamacare is the law of the land. If we were to put Obamacare into the CR [continuing resolution] and send it over to the Senate, we were risking shutting down the government. That is not our goal.”
Cowed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and bullied by the most conservative members of his caucus, Mr. Boehner has done exactly what he said made no sense. Now he doesn’t know how to get out of the predicament. A shutdown is bad; a default on the debt, which looms 10 days from now, could be catastrophic. The speaker is demanding that President Obama negotiate, while setting “red lines” for those hypothetical talks (“Very simple. We’re not raising taxes.”). It’s not an impressive strategy.
At some point, Mr. Obama and the Democrats will have to throw the speaker a lifeline. As tempted as they may be to see the Republicans blamed for economic disaster, giving the Democrats a chance to recapture the House in 2014, the potential damage to the nation is too great — and Americans could end up blaming everyone who seems to have a hand in this mess. A temporary extension of the debt ceiling, a reopening of the government and a commitment to engage in a process that leads to budget and tax reform: The ingredients of a deal are there.
But throwing a lifeline is pointless until the victim realizes he may be drowning. It’s not clear the Republicans have reached that point. The danger is they will take the country down with them.
- Boehner: No idea when government shutdown ends (sfgate.com)
- UPDATE: Boehner: Obama’s demanding surrender, GOP refuses (nbc15.com)
- Boehner: No idea when government shutdown ends (wjla.com)
- Boehner: No idea when government shutdown ends (news.yahoo.com)
- DNC targets shutdown ‘architect’ Marco Rubio in robo calls (miamiherald.typepad.com)
- Boehner: No idea when government shutdown ends – China Daily (chinadaily.com.cn)
- Obama to Boehner: No talks until government opens (kvue.com)
- Obama Issues Debt-Ceiling Warning (foxct.com)
- Government shutdown 2013: Senate Democrats plan to introduce debt ceiling legislation (wjla.com)
- Government Shutdown: Congress Is Doing Its Job (txwclp.org)
Why Most Republicans Do Not Seem To Know They Are Getting Their Butts Kicked
Expecting Republicans to simply give up and admit defeat prior to the election may have been unrealistic, but Republicans took the expectations game to a whole ‘nutha level. They “unskewed” polls to show Romney with a lead. They witnessed the gathering masses and took the to mean that they were going to win. They read the tealeaves. They looked at historical precedents. They simply could not understand how the nation would ever re-elect Barack Obama after such a disastrous 1st term. Their best political minds took everything into consideration, discounted what was not right wing propaganda, and pronounced that . Even George Will, the supposed conservative brainiac wunderkind predicted a Romney landslide just prior to the election, even as every legitimate indicator predicted the correct outcome.
Quite simply Republicans were not willing to accept the reality beyond their own misleading echo chamber.
Mitt Romney and most Republicans were just of the election. The election night coverage on Fox was highlighted by the on-air when his network declared Obama had won Ohio and thus re-election. When the right wing echo chamber was forced to deal with cold hard reality, it did not go well for them.
Fast forward nearly a year to the current budget crisis and it would seem that Republicans (with a few ) have not learned anything. Conservatives from to are using their echo chamber to trumpet the government shutdown as a Republican triumph, and a Democratic boondoggle. Republicans have convinced themselves that they are winning the messaging war by hanging out at the WWII memorial (which they have voted to close btw) and passing short term funding measures for various hot button issues. When presented with evidence that the American people do not agree with them on the shutdown, they bring out echo chamber tested talking points about it being Reid’s or Obama’s fault.
They are getting trounced and they are convinced that they are winning. shows the Republicans would have trouble holding the house if a general election were held today. The prospects for Republicans against generic Democrats in the poll are even worse when it is disclosed that the Republican in question voted to shut down the government.
On the same day this poll was released Republicans fanned out on the Sunday talk shows promising to dig in their heels by throwing in the promise to default on the debt in addition to shutting down the government. Because this has been such a winning strategy for them after all.
The truth is the right wing echo chamber is powered by falsehood and self-aggrandizing fear mongers. It is an enterprise for the enrichment of the right wing elite. Promoting a winning political agenda is not the primary concern of the right wing echo chamber charlatans. Their primary mission in life is to enrich themselves with empty promises to change the basic nature of the American system or to fight against this or that outrage… if you will only donate $25 to the cause, or support their gold hustling advertisers.
I used to be convinced that Fox News and the rabid haters on talk radio were going to cause the downfall of the Republic. Now I am convinced that the right wing echo chamber will only cause the downfall of the Republican party.
- Ann Romney: We would not be in shutdown if Mitt were president (bizpacreview.com)
- Epic Rap Battles of History: Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney (randomfansinc.wordpress.com)
- Contempt for President Obama is Behind the Shutdown (huffingtonpost.com)
- RomneyCare supporter Jim DeMint says Obamacare wasn’t an isssue in 2012 because of Mitt Romney (dailykos.com)
- Exclusive: Romney disagrees with House GOP ‘tactics’ on Obamacare in D.C. (thelead.blogs.cnn.com)
- Hispanic outreach: Mitt Romney’s largest error from 2012 (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- Mitt Romney Right About Everything? Again, you idiots elected the wrong man. (gopthedailydose.com)
- Exclusive: Mitt Romney on Iran: President Rouhani is not calling the shots (thelead.blogs.cnn.com)
- Rachel Maddow: Republican Shutdown Planned For Two Years (VIDEO) (addictinginfo.org)
- Virginia Election Offers a Real-World Test of Conservative Theory (txwclp.org)
SEPTEMBER 29, 2013
BOEHNER ADVISES AMERICANS TO DELAY GETTING CANCER FOR A YEAR
POSTED BY ANDY BOROWITZ
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In a special Sunday radio address, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) delivered a health tip to the American people, advising them to delay getting cancer for a year.
“We’re involved in a high-stakes fight over our freedom from centralized government control of our lives,” said Mr. Boehner, speaking on behalf of his House colleagues. “You can do your part by delaying getting cancer.”
He added that heart disease, emphysema, and diabetes were among a laundry list of conditions that would be “patriotic to avoid for a year.”
“If you delay getting any of these things for the next twelve months, together we will win this fight,” he said.
In closing, he reassured the American people that in the event of a government shutdown, members of Congress’ health benefits would remain intact: “We want to be in tip-top shape to continue to do the excellent job we’re doing for you.”
- BOEHNER ADVISES AMERICANS TO DELAY GETTING CANCER FOR A YEAR (Satire) (kstreet607.com)
- Boehner Advises Americans to Delay Getting Cancer for a Year (newyorker.com)
- BOEHNER ADVISES AMERICANS TO DELAY GETTING CANCER FOR A YEAR (Satire) (hrexach.wordpress.com)
- Speaker of the House …. Useless John Boehner Satire!!! (hrexach.wordpress.com)
- Chaos in The GOP as Ted Cruz is Leading a House Rebellion Against John Boehner (mbcalyn.com)
- Obama Shaken by Boehner’s Support on Syria : The New Yorker (mbcalyn.com)
- Filing Bankruptcy in South Carolina and the Government Shutdown (scbankruptcyattorney.com)
- Boehner attacks Senate ‘arrogrance’… (speaker.gov)
- No 1-Year Delay – Boehner Never Blinks While Kissing Liberal Butt (im41.com)
- Filing Bankruptcy in South Carolina and the Government Shut Down (scbankruptcyattorney.com)
Ted Cruz Completely Screws John Boehner With His Publicity Stunt Faux Filibuster
Ted Cruz’s all night faux filibuster has created a big problem for House Republicans. Sen. Cruz has chewed up so much time that Boehner will only have a few hours to respond to the Senate passed bill funding the ACA.
According to “Speaking with little assistance from his Republican colleagues, Cruz assured that debate on the spending measure will stretch well into the weekend. With Senate passage all but certain on a bill that will include funding for the health-care law, Cruz’s strategy will give House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and his colleagues only a few hours to respond with a different version of the legislation.”
Sen. Cruz (R-TX) has responded to the Hby making sure that Boehner and the House will have very little time to craft a reply to whatever passes the Senate. Cruz’s behavior is more evidence that his behavior is not about doing what’s best for the Republican Party. He isn’t interested in the welfare of the Republican Party. Since he opposes health insurance for 30 million Americans, Cruz isn’t interested in the welfare of the American people. This is all a selfish, grandstanding effort to both raise money and fuel speculation about his potential 2016 campaign.
Thanks to Ted Cruz, Speaker Boehner faces all the pressure. Republicans aren’t going to blame Cruz for forcing the House to pass a continuing resolution that doesn’t defund Obamacare. They’re going to blame John Boehner for passing the bill. Ted Cruz will look like a hero to the right, but every word he speaks is another nail in the Republican coffin.
Cruz’s dramatics illustrate why Republicans have no interest in getting rid of Obamacare. Much like abortion, the ACA has become a publicity and fundraising tool. If Republicans were successful in repealing the ACA, they would lose their favorite new tool for scaring and motivating their base.
Republicans can laud Ted Cruz as a great American, but he has completely screwed the Republican Party and exposed the fraud behind their Obamacare opposition.
- Ted Cruz Completely Screws John Boehner With His Publicity Stunt Faux Filibuster (politicususa.com)
- Ted Cruz may be in Washington, but he is no Mr. Smith (dailykos.com)
- Cruz and Lee delay votes on spending bill (ktvb.com)
- GOP anger at Cruz hits Senate floor (politico.com)
- John Boehner is being even more irresponsible than Ted Cruz (washingtonpost.com)
- Like Ted Cruz? These people don’t! (wnd.com)
- How Ted Cruz’s ‘filibuster’ stacks up, in one graph (washingtonpost.com)
- Why Ted Cruz’s Filibuster is a Filibluster (eyeonthenation.wordpress.com)
- Ted Cruz faux filibuster goes on as Senate readies spending bill vote (cbsnews.com)
- Ted Cruz launches faux filibuster as Senate readies spending bill vote (cbsnews.com)
Don’t blame Boehner for House dysfunction
By Steve LaTourette, Published: September 20
Steve LaTourette, who represented Ohio’s 19th and 14th congressional districts in the U.S. House from 1995 to 2013, is president of Main Street Partnership, an organization of centrist Republicans.
There has been a lot of talk in both Democratic and Republican circles about whetherHouse Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) can lead his caucus. Incidents such as the defeat of the farm bill on the House floor have been cited to support this narrative.
But much of the blame for Washington failures has been mislaid.
The focus on Boehner has been more intense because House Democrats have abdicated any meaningful role in passing legislation. Few bills are able to garner Democratic support, often not because of policy differences but because House Democratic leaders have decided they would rather wash their hands of responsibility for governing and, instead, focus on winning back the majority.
The role of the minority party is to be the “loyal opposition,” and Democrats have gotten it half right — they are opposed to everything House Republicans do, but there is not much loyal about it.
Democrats frequently push back against this, arguing that Boehner isn’t willing to move legislation that isn’t supported by a majority of his caucus even if there would be 218 votes for passage. But the reality is that Boehner has been willing to waive the “Hastert rule” and bring important legislation to the floor. He did so this year with the “fiscal cliff” deal and with theViolence Against Women Act. He is, however, the leader of the GOP caucus, so he has to pick and choose the times he is willing to move forward without a majority of Republicans — or risk not being their leader much longer.
Boehner is a skilled politician who is more than able to lead his caucus — well, at least the 180 or so members interested in actively participating in the legislative process. Unfortunately for Boehner, for the House as an institution and for the country in general, these 180 public servants are not the problem.
Thirty to 40 other members of the House, however, believe their only responsibility as a member of Congress is to show up and vote “no.” Frankly, they take such a dim view of their job that a trained monkey could do what they do. And, sadly, the situation is becoming one in which the monkeys are running the zoo.
It is these members who are largely responsible for the dysfunction in Washington and the failure of the legislative process. They have gleefully ground to a halt the work of the people. Because of them, agreement cannot be reached on legislation once deemed too important not to pass, such as the farm bill or the transportation bill.
The No On Everything caucus, exemplified by members such as Justin Amash (R-Mich.),Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), has tapped into Americans’ unhappiness with Washington while deepening the dysfunction that has bred such widespread contempt among voters. It’s an admirable feat of political skill in the basest sense, but it is also everything that is wrong with politics today.
Our country faces some heady issues. There is a fight looming over funding the government that could lead to a government shutdown. That will be followed by debate over whether toraise the debt ceiling, with the specter of the United States defaulting on its debts as the backdrop. We have a limited window of time to deal with other important questions, such as fundamental tax reform and critical reforms to the U.S. immigration system.
It is time for Democrats and the No On Everything caucus to step up and become meaningful participants in the legislative process.
It is said that politics can make strange bedfellows. Progressives may say they bemoan the “radicalism” of the tea party, and tea party advocates may claim to despise the “tactics” of liberals, but the truth is that both sides have abdicated the most basic responsibilities of elected officials. Both sides are complicit in creating an environment in which nothing can be accomplished.
Running for office is not an obligation; one isn’t forced to do it. And those lucky enough to be entrusted with the faith of the voters they were elected to represent have obligations that come with the office. Our nation faces serious challenges. We need men and women in Congress who are willing to get to work finding solutions. Sitting on the sidelines is not an option.
- Don’t Preach To Me, Fool (boomantribune.com)
- Would a Government Shutdown Really Be All That Bad for Republicans? Yes (theatlantic.com)
- Republicans Think The 41st Time Is The Charm To Defund Obamacare (classwarfareexists.com)
- Relocating Abroad (brainiac-conspiracy.typepad.com)
- Congress Clowns (theburningplatform.com)
- Republican Divide Shows Moderates Scarce in Echo of 1964 (bloomberg.com)
- Boehner Caves To the Tea Party on Obamacare (slog.thestranger.com)
- “Overwhelmed With Madness”: House Republicans Beat John Boehner Into Submission (mykeystrokes.com)
- There Have Been No Republican Votes for a Budget Compromise since 1991… (delong.typepad.com)
- Romney pledges raise questions (ocregister.com)