House Republicans Fear They Really Are a Do-Nothing Congress

The Atlantic Wire
House Republicans Fear They Really Are a Do-Nothing Congress
.

View photo

House Republicans Fear They Really Are a Do-Nothing Congress

House Speaker John Boehner has dismissed President Obama's campaign against a do-nothing Congress by saying "most Americans think we’ve got too many laws already," but Boehner's underlings don't think so. House Republicans "worry they’re going to go home to campaign with a light legislative résumé," Politico's Jake Sherman reports. That's funny, because their strategy since the 2010 elections has been to do as little as possible so Obama can't pad his résumé either. "And with Congress’s approval ratings in the gutter, Republicans are sick of blaming the Senate for their inaction," Sherman writes. "They want real legislative victories, not just GOP bills that pass out of the House and go nowhere on the other side of the dome."

RELATED: Wall Street Journal: Republicans Turned the Payroll Tax into a Gift for Obama

In Tuesday night's State of the Union address, Obama listed a whole bunch of bills he promised he'd sign right away: reform of the tax code, tax breaks for companies who bring back jobs from overseas, bills on energy and infrastructure, a ban on congressional insider trading. But New York's Jonathan Chait writes, "Obama knows full well that Republicans in Congress will block everything." He can't pass anything, but he can be populist. Obama's "agenda is dead, but his public standing has benefited," Chait says. "Perhaps one day Republicans will wish they had been a little more flexible, and had kept the old, wonky, bargaining Obama rather than the slashing populist who’s cutting their throats."

RELATED: Obama's Favorite Word: 'Frustration'

But When Fox News' Chris Wallace asked Boehner on Sunday why this Congress has been one of the least productive ever -- 80 laws were passed and a fifth of them were formalities -- the speaker said he was just concentrating on "quantity over quality," Mediaite's Josh Friedman notes. But Republican lawmakers are unconvinced. “We need to get more done,” said Rep. Steve Stivers told Politico. "House Republicans need to work with [conservative] Senate Democrats, not just Republicans, because we need 60... We not only have to work with Senate Republicans, we have to work with some conservative Senate Democrats. Because frankly, conservative Senate Democrats aren’t that far away from Senate Republicans."

View Comments (759)