Congress Watch: A Summer of Bipartisan Love?
The Hill reported yesterday that Speaker John Boehner and his lieutenants are facing major legislative hurdles this summer. "Tests," The Hill calls them. Or superb chances for capitulations under the ever-handy guise of bipartisanship?
The tests that the speaker faces include, but aren't limited to: "Immigration reform, a five-year farm bill, the constitutionality of the National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs, a possible government shutdown and increasing the federal debt limit."
As Hot Air reports, the farm bill is full of pork (more than the kind that goes "oink.") Nonetheless, the speaker is committed to pushing it through this week. The 2013 versions of the farm bill contain huge spending increases at a time when Uncle Sam is running generous surpluses (right).
The 2008 farm bill (farm bills are passed in five-year blocks, similar to what the commies used to do in Russia) stuck taxpayers with a $604 billion tab. Evidently, rampant inflation requires a jump to $940 billion for the 2013 House farm bill. The Senate version clocks in at $955 billion. Why quibble over a mere $15 billion?
Immigration reform is another big (and I mean "big") issue for the speaker. Let's hope the speaker wears a truss. The Senate immigration bill weighs in at 24 pounds and runs 1,075 pages, brevity being the hallmark of modern legislatures. Marco Rubio -- that conservative's conservative -- coauthored the more appropriately named "Measure to Ensure Democratic Majorities in Perpetuity -- or Until the Nation Crashes under the Weight of Debt and Unpayable Obligations." Snappy title, even if John McCain's shadow -- Lindsey Graham -- disagrees.
Will the speaker buckle or fight on immigration reform? Don't bet the house on a real fight.
Then there are spending bills and the debt limit. The speaker had some success with the sequester earlier in the year. Any fight left in old John?
Finally, this from The Hill's article:
Since Republicans took over the House in 2011, the majority party has had a difficult time garnering a majority of the fiscally conservative conference to support spending bills, let alone more divisive matters such as immigration.
But Boehner ally Representative Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) does more than hint that the speaker isn't going to let those pesky conservatives obstruct measures that are good for the Democratic Party -- err, nation.
As The Hill explains:
Still, Simpson believes that Boehner intends to let the House "work its will" on the measures even if it means relying on Democratic votes to carry the majority of support for those bills.
"When you are Speaker, you aren't just Republican Speaker, you are Speaker of the whole House and you need to do what's best for the whole House sometimes that might mean a majority of Democrats and minority of Republicans that pass a bill," Simpson said.
You tell 'em, Mike. You got an "A" in high school civics, I bet. And your good government sentiments are no doubt shared by Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer -- when it comes to passing legislation favorable to their interests, of course.