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Elections matter. Nowhere has that been more apparent than in the House that Boehner built. The House of Tea. While discouraged progressives and moderates stayed home November, 2010....the TEAs rallied in hatred of all things Democratic, all things Obama...and took back the House of Representatives. The TEAs did it fair and square. They deserve a lot of credit for their enthusiasm and steadfastness. TEAs worked hard...and it paid off. Republicans regained the majority in the House.
However, as many progressives predicted following the election, House Republicans had absolutely nothing to offer the nation other than gridlock. The only policy objective from the right has been the goal to make Obama a one term president.
What Boehner's House Republicans will not do...is compromise. The ability of a democracy to succeed as a democracy is based on the given that compromise is essential to the legislating process. Unfortunately, compromise was the first victim of the new TEA Party led House.
Over the weekend, this refusal of TEA driven House members to compromise has produced more gridlock....but this time is even worse than before. On Friday, the Senate approved a two month extension of payroll tax cuts, unemployment insurance and the Medicare doc fix. Senate Republicans also demanded a provision requiring Obama to say yea or nay on the Keystone XL pipeline....and Democrats accepted that provision, I assume, in a compromise deal.
Whatever....the point here is that the Senate voted 89-10 to pass the bill. 89-10. That's what bipartisanship looks like. That's what compromise is able to produce. Even though I think a year's extension of the measures would have been preferable, two months is what the Senate compromised on. The shortness of the extension means that legislators will be revisiting this "debate" in the middle of the GOP primaries. Not sure why Senate Republicans want that to happen, but then, it doesn't have to make sense...it's the Congress.
You might have thought that a measure which passed 89-10 in the Senate would also be welcomed by the TEA House...but you would be wrong....
The deal collapsed in spectacular fashion early Saturday. After passing the Senate with an overwhelming majority, Boehner presented the deal to his members, many of whom — including Boehner’s top lieutenants — rejected it. Sunday morning, he appeared on NBC to declare it dead on arrival.
This is the second time (at least) that John Boehner's leadership in the House has failed. Boehner worked with Mitch McConnell in the Senate to come up with a palatable bill....only to have his uncompromising TEA House members to throw it all in his face.
Anyway, the kabuki TEA theater will continue this week while Americans are busy paying attention to the upcoming holiday. It is possible that uncompromising House TEAs will be solely responsible for raising taxes on some 160 million Americans. I repeat.....House Republicans may be responsible for RAISING taxes on 160 million Americans. Republicans raising taxes.
The reason given by Eric Cantor and others who prefer TEA is that the two month extension is just too short of a period of time. For what, exactly, I have no idea.
"The House opposes (the Senate) bill because - to put it simply - we owe the middle class, employers and doctors better than a two-month extension. Washington is already causing massive uncertainty to those struggling in the Obama economy. We can do better. "
This is the same Eric Cantor who created sufficient enough "uncertainty" in August to cause S&P to downgrade U.S. debt instruments.
But Boehner, as well as other Republicans, made it clear that they didn't like a two-month fix.
"How can you do tax policy for two months?" he asked.
All the Senate bill does, he said, is trigger the same fight when Congress returns next month.
"I believe that two months is just kicking the can down the road. The American people are tired of that. Frankly, I'm tired of it," Boehner said.
After dragging out budget and credit extension talks all summer, Boehner is...now...."tired" of "kicking cans."
Truth be told, House TEA members calculated the political downside of having to revisit this issue during the February GOP primaries....and didn't particularly like the prospects. No matter, because what it comes out looking like is a calcified GOP House which has no intention...ever...of compromising. At least not until a Republican controls the White House.
The current House will prove to be the most do-nothing House in recent history. Having made the determination that ousting a Democratic president was more important than passing legislation that would help the American people, the TEA House set their necks to stiffer, and have never looked back.
There can be no democratic process without compromise...and yet compromise is what the House TEAs will not do.