The Republicans could take unified control of Congress in next week’s elections, but don’t expect a whole lot to change.
Kevin Drum made a nice catch on Monday when he highlighted that John Boehner’s once touted lawsuit to reign in King Barack’s tyranny doesn’t seem to be getting off the ground. The original plan was for Republicans in the House to sue the president over the decisions to delay some deadlines surrounding Obamacare and hold up some deportations of minors from Central America. It’s hard to remember now but this was supposed to be quite the game changer back in June, unfortunately for John Boehner it turns out the whole idea is likely without any legal merit and so there probably won’t be any lawsuit after all.
House of Representatives silliness aside though, this sort of “do nothing” style of governance is pretty typical of what we’ve seen from the GOP since they took back the House in 2010. For all the noise that’s created with threats of lawsuits and government shutdowns, very little actually seems to get done. Jonathan Bernstein made a helpful list of all the basic things the House Republicans have failed to get done the other day:
-The House didn’t file the lawsuit against Barack Obama.
-The House didn’t take up several different “piece by piece” immigration bills.
-The House never considered tax reform. No bill was considered in committee, or even introduced. They did get all the way to the hearing stage on that one.
-And the granddaddy of them all, no matter how many times they promise it’s going to happen any month now, the House Republicans still have no “replace” plan for their pledged repeal-and-replace approach to Obamacare. No bill, not even real hearings to talk about drafting a bill.
For all the talk about what the GOP wants to do, at the federal level at least they never seem to get around to actually doing any of the very real work that go into crafting legislation. Even holding some pointless hearings for show can often seem like a bridge too far.
The big take away here of course is that we shouldn’t expect a whole lot from Congress over the next two years, even if the Republicans win a majority in the Senate next week. It will still be the same old story of Washington gridlock with a Republican Party that makes a lot of noise, but doesn’t seem to interested in doing any of the hard work it takes to actually govern. We could see another government shutdown or a fight over replacing a Supreme Court Justice of course. But I wouldn’t hold out any hopes for much action to address our national problems.
Which is too bad because it certainly sounds like the Republicans want to change things. But they rarely, if ever, do any of the real work that actually changing laws require.
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