87 Republicans joined 198 Democrats to support legislation to end the government shutdown and prevent a default on the national debt. This was the key vote to ending the standoff. The Senate and President Barack Obama had been ready to support this legislation from the beginning. But Speaker of the House John Boehner was reluctant to bring a bill to the floor that would rely on Democratic votes to pass. Speaker Boehner has relied on Democratic votes before, but only on a few occasions and usually as a last resort to end some kind of legislative crisis like the recent shutdown. Much more could be accomplished in Congress – and we could stop governing by crisis – if Speaker Boehner was willing to work with Democrats to govern. Continue reading
House Republican leaders suffered an embarrassing defeat yesterday when the farm bill was rejected by a combination of Democrats and conservative Republicans. The House also failed to pass a farm bill last year, so this is not a new problem. It’s particularly embarrassing for House Republicans, since the Democratic Senate has been able to pass a bipartisan farm bill both this year and last year. In the Senate, leadership must get a 60% supermajority to overcome a filibuster, and a single obstinate Senator can make things difficult by denying the unanimous consent needed to conduct routine business. In the House, a simple majority is enough to pass legislation, and leadership largely controls the floor process through the Rules Committee. So why can’t the House pass a farm bill? Continue reading
In what has become a frequent tradition, the House Republicans are voting to repeal Obamacare next week. According to Politico, this has already happened more than 30 times. Speaker Boehner says he is holding the vote because many freshmen members haven’t gotten to take their turn yet repealing health care reform.
To be clear, this is not the “Repeal and Replace” that Republicans talked about when the law first passed – just repeal. There are fair criticisms about the health care law, but a lot of this gets boggen down in minutia that ignores the big picture. So what’s the big picture, and what are Republicans voting on repealing (again)? Continue reading