Congress’s Plan to Get Nothing Done
HOUSE SPEAKER John Boehner (R-Ohio) told Republicans that they would make a “closing argument” to midterm election voters in the session of Congress that begins today. It’s shaping up to be a lousy one. On the other hand, the Democrat-controlled Senate is not likely to do much better.
Operating on the notion that the public prefers political theater to authentic accomplishments, the House and Senate are preparing to achieve almost nothing when they reconvene. Instead of passing bills into law and allowing voters to judge their work, the legislators appear to be pushing hopes of any serious lawmaking off into the safety of a post-election, lame-duck session — and that’s if they move relatively quickly.
In a memorandum sent to House Republicans on Thursday, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) promised a “busy September.” The GOP, he wrote, will bundle together and pass again a series of bills that the House approved earlier but that never made headway in the Senate. Repackaging and restamping defunct bills doesn’t sound like much work to us. And Republicans don’t have to worry about the Senate sending any of the bundles back for final consultations before they go to the president’s desk. They contain so many proposals that are both unwise and toxic to Democrats, such as blocking environmental regulations, that the Senate will dismiss them for what they are: measures meant to make Republicans appear as though they are advancing a conservative agenda when, in fact, they are advancing nothing at all.