Thursday, July 31, 2014

Can The Elephant Ever Thread The Eye of the Needle?

(Update: The GOP House is attempting to get something resolved, but it's doubtful the bill - something that would nuke DACA with extreme prejudice -would survive its trip to the Senate, let alone getting to Obama's Oval Office where it'll get vetoed.)
I've mentioned before how this Republican-led House in the U.S. Congress may be one of the most incompetent ever, but today's failure to even get a vote out on an emergency border bill takes the prize (via Washington Monthly):
Despite some nativist tweaks aimed at getting conservatives on board, the House GOP leadership (operating for the first time with Kevin McCarthy instead of Eric Cantor holding the whip) had to pull its much trumpeted border bill this afternoon, apparently abandoning the whole effort while Members head off on their long August recess...
This article quickly links to Talking Points Memo for more:
...Immigration-weary conservatives said the $659 million supplemental, and the subsequent measure to end the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, didn't go far enough in rebuking the president's actions.
It was a remarkable defeat for the new GOP leadership team on the day that Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) stepped down as majority leader.
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced the decision in a joint statement with his new leadership team, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)...
Why the hair-pulling?

Because of three things of direct concern: 1) there is a major crisis at the moment with an influx of children immigrants flooding across the US-Mexico border, a lot of them fleeing an increase in violence and corruption in places like Honduras and Guatemala, 2) the prolonged failure by Republican Party leadership to address any form of immigration reform was starting to show, and 3) the Republicans were poised to use this bill to force draconian cuts to Obama's planned efforts of immigration reform (he had asked for 3.7 billion in comprehensive funding to which the House slashed it down to barely 659 million for border security only, and the Far Right in the House were aiming to slash at other programs like DACA), positioning themselves to look good to their base while making Obama choke on the sh-t sandwich they were going to serve him.  Now they can't even serve him a sh-t sandwich (even with them trying to blame this all on Obama anyway).

Another problem?  The one thing this House did vote for this final week was a resolution granting Speaker Boehner the power to file a lawsuit against Obama's "unlawful" abuse of Executive Orders.  Like I said before, more a political stunt to appease their base, but now this lawsuit creates a paradox.  Because House Republicans can't pass the legislation needed to get things done, they're forcing Obama into the position of issuing Executive Orders to cover the gaps that failure of legislating is creating.  Per the Washington Post:
...When Obama takes some kind of executive action to address the broader immigration problem, Republican complaints that he’s being tyrannical will be undermined by the GOP’s abysmal failure to offer an alternative. If they had passed a border bill he vetoed, or one that died in the Senate, they could claim they tried to solve the problem. But now all they’ve got to show for the end of the session is a lawsuit — one that will probably offer their own right wing nothing but frustration and disappointment, and will validate everything Obama is saying about them.
This is the best that the Republicans in the House could do this summer?

Some of the other things worth mentioning: we were promised an exclusive special committee getting into the bottom of Benghazi, yet I can't recall a single news report about them since May (turns out they're scheduled to hold hearings this September); Congress has been having problems funding bills for our nation's transportation infrastructure; the only thing that this Congress seems able to pass is a major reform and funding package for the Veterans Affairs department that was facing serious breakdowns in service and management... and that's pretty much because the failures at the VA were so great and so prolonged that both parties had to respond quickly to fix it.

We're discussing one of the least productive Congressional sessions in recent memory (barely doing any better than the previous one of 2011-13, which wasn't all that busy anyway).  Like it or not, we as a nation need a functioning Congress to uphold the legislative duties that keep our government working.  When it doesn't work, very little else can...

There is a possibility that the House will delay their planned August recess - for a few days at least - in order to pass something of a border security bill, and avoid the outright embarrassment of heading off to their fundraiser parties at country clubs.  But given the dysfunction of this party - their obsession to embarrass Obama at all hazards, their failure to keep their more extremist factions in check - I doubt the House Republicans will get anything done before they blame their failures on Obama and move on.

This is not a political party geared towards passing any decent legislation.

Reason #4793178 you shouldn't vote Republican.

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