Hitting Their Stride
Posted on May 10, 2012
While the news media is completely focused on the President Obama’s evolving position on gay marriage (question: what is the difference between evolving and a flip flop), House Republican leaders have been hitting their stride.
Tensions between the Speaker’s office and the Leader’s office haven’t completely dissipated (and given the historic nature of those two offices, they never really will), Mr. Boehner and Mr. Cantor have developed an effective working relationship that is helping the House get some serious victories.
Today, House Republicans will cut more than $300 billion out of current spending as part of a reconciliation process aimed at replacing deep and dangerous reductions in military spending with more palatable reductions in mandatory programs.
The package is expected to easily pass the House without much more than a whimper from the Democratic minority. Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the spending cut package comes with some necessary reforms to the food stamp program. But as John Boehner pointed out last week, everybody who is on food stamps today will continue to be on food stamps (unless by some miracle they get a job---which is hard in this Obama economy) the day after these reforms are implemented, if that day ever comes.
Republicans say that their bill bill replaces automatic military cuts that the Obama administration admits would “hollow out” our armed forces. And a coalition of 31 organizations representing more than 5.5 million veterans sent a letter to Congress, begging it to stop the defense sequester, saying it would be “catastrophic” for the economy and for our national defense. The reconciliation bill accomplishes that goal.
Some budget hawks disagree that the automatic sequester would necessarily be devastating to the Pentagon’s ability to defend America, but there is absolutely no doubt that such cuts would kill jobs in politically important states.
The Republicans have had a series of other triumphs that they should make them proud.
They passed a politically charged budget on time and are now proceeding apace to get their Appropriations bills passed and sent to the Senate. This work is the life-blood of the Congress.
They forced the Senate to take up and pass Eric Cantor’s Jobs Act, legislation that helps venture capital firms invest in small businesses. The President signed the bill into law, over the objections of some of his allies.
The House was also able to get the Export Import Bank reauthorized, over the objections of some Tea Party members. While conservatives didn’t particularly love the bill, it was important for several big domestic manufacturers, and it’s reauthorization too will help create jobs.
Congressional Republicans hope that the rockiness that greeted them last year on too many bills has finally led way to a smoother path to legislative (and electoral) success. They seem to be hitting their stride, just at the right time.