On Tuesday, Sarah Jones wrote about how the 113th Congress is on pace to be the least productive on record. Well, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) was confronted by reporters on Tuesday and asked his thoughts about this being the ‘do nothing’ Congress. Instead of taking responsibility, as a good leader should, Boehner did what has been all so common from Republicans the past few years: Blame Democrats.
”When you look at the number of bills passed by the House and the paltry number of bills passed by the Senate, you can see where the problem is.”
Yep. Instead of Boehner looking inward and seeing that he has presided over a historically unproductive House of Representatives that has been more interested in holding multiple votes to repeal the ACA or setup phony investigative hearings to look at non-scandals surrounding the IRS or Benghazi, he instead decided to point the finger at the other chamber. It always strikes me as funny that the GOP likes to call themselves the ‘Party of Personal Responsibility’, yet they always seem to find a why to point the blame at someone else.
The fact is, that there are numerous bills that have passed the Senate that are sitting in the House, either due to Boehner’s refusal to bring them to a vote or because they have been rejected by the House Republicans outright. The Farm Bill fiasco is a prime example of this, where the Senate passed the Farm Bill in June, but the House Republicans included cuts to SNAP and then couldn’t pass it as some conservatives thought the cuts didn’t go far enough. Comprehensive immigration reform has been DOA in the House for a while now. Let’s not even discuss a jobs bill or passing an actual budget.
But, when confronted with these facts, Boehner was still defiant. He still wanted to state that the House was doing its job and that both chambers of Congress need to work together. Which really means that the Senate needs to do whatever the most conservative members of the House would like.
“The way this system of government works, both the House and the Senate have to do their jobs. The House continues to do its job; it’s time for the Senate to get serious about doing theirs.”
This is really all it comes down to. Boehner loves the idea of being a Very Important Person with Very Big Responsibilities. He loves being seen as one of the most recognizable and powerful men in Washington. It doesn’t matter to him that he is seen as the worst Speaker of the House in history, because at least he can currently say that he is the Speaker. It is more important for him that he keep his very public role in Washington than anything else. He wants nothing more than to be a big shot.
So, he has allowed a minority of his caucus to create the post-policy government we find ourselves in, where it is all about gumming up the works and making sure nothing gets done. The fact is, this is the Tea Party vision. This is what they ran on and what has gotten them elected in their lily-white suburban and rural districts. They promised to go to Washington and screw it up and do their best to make sure the Kenyan usurper gets nothing accomplished. And, with Boehner’s help, they have succeeded to some degree.