The GOP leadership is dealing with an unprecedented level of frustration in running the House, according to conversations with more than a dozen aides and lawmakers in and around leadership. Leadership is talking past each other. The conference is split by warring factions. And influential outside groups are fighting them."Stalemate" is the nice way of saying that House Republicans couldn't pass a bill to dial 911 if John Boehner were on fire. At long last, their remarkable ability to get absolutely nothing of substance done has dawned upon even them.
The chaos has led to a sense of stalemate for House Republicans, who have been in the majority since 2011.
Speaker John Boehner, Cantor and McCarthy are plagued by a conference split into two groups. In one camp are stiff ideologues who didn’t extract any lesson from Mitt Romney’s loss and are only looking to slash spending and defund President Barack Obama’s health care law at every turn. In the other are lawmakers who are aligned with Cantor, who is almost singularly driving an agenda which is zeroed in on family issues.So it's between the serial arsonists and the the more pragmatic guys who are desperately trying to find their next "flag burning!" or other super-important social issue that nobody ever thought was a problem until suddenly all of western civilization hinged on defeating it right this minute. Oh wait, they already have one: Morals-obsessed Taco Bell owners having to provide slightly better health insurance for their slutty, slutty employees.
As for the hapless Boehner (below the fold):
Boehner seems more focused on passing big pieces of legislation like hiking the debt ceiling and extending government funding, sometimes drawing flak for having to rely on Democrats to move these bills over the finish line.I'm imagining Boehner standing in an empty hallway here. "Guys? The government is kinda collapsing here. I don't mean to alarm anyone, but if we don't pass a reasonable budget by the end of the month the folks at the National Zoo say they're going to have to let all their animals go, and they're threatening to personally drive them to my office before releasing them."
"Screw you, let the government fall!" yell the anarchists from one room. "No deal, but you can have your FAA controllers back," shout the pragmatists from another, "but in exchange we're passing a bill next month banning the use of human fetal tissue as lawnmower lubricant. And you're standing up giving a press conference telling America that's a thing now."
And scene. The buffoonery would be great fun to watch, if it weren't for that whole screwing-Americans-over-on-a-weekly-basis thing. Tell you what, guys, let's get the government running again and then you can have your little power war afterwards. We all promise we'll still pay attention to you.
No luck, though. The House GOP is so hamstrung that they've devolved into legislative thumb-twiddling:
The inability to find unifying principles is sometimes in plain view: House Republicans spent two days last week passing legislation that extended the authority of the government’s helium reserves, which Democrats would’ve allowed them to pass by unanimous voice vote.Given the number of off days they've given themselves, I suppose we should be happy they still show up for work at all.