A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Thursday, July 11, 2013

GOP Infighting Has The House Deadlocked

(The cartoon above is by Stuart Carlson at carlsontoons.com.)

The Senate has been unable to accomplish much because of disagreements between the Democrats and Republicans, who cannot compromise on anything. But it is different in the House of Representatives. They are just as deadlocked as the Senate, but the Democrats have nothing to do with it. It is because of a war between the GOP right-wingers and the GOP far-right-fringe -- who seem to hate each other as much as they hate Democrats.

About a week ago, this resulted in a defeat for the Farm Bill in the House. Even though the GOP badly wanted to pass a Farm Bill, and huge cuts in the food stamp program were made just to keep the fringe right happy, it was not enough. Too many Republicans broke party lines and voted against the bill (wanting even bigger cuts). Now the leadership (who seem unable to do much leading) is going to try and pass a Farm Bill without addressing the funding for food stamps (until some time in the future) -- a silly idea that would never get Senate or presidential approval.

Now the same thing is happening to immigration reform. Republican leaders (and Democrats) would like to see immigration reform, and a bill passed the Senate providing for a lot of border security and a rather onerous path to citizenship. But that bill is as good as dead in the House. Speaker Boehner will not even let the Senate bill come up for a vote in the House, because he knows that would badly split his party (which is yet to come to an agreement on what needs to be done).

Instead, the House looks like it will pass a bill only providing for more border security (which is not really needed), and ignore a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and an overhaul of immigration rules (both of which are badly needed). And it goes without saying that such a bill is dead on arrival in the Senate.

This GOP infighting is the result of GOP leaders seeing the writing on the wall (regarding the demographic changes in population and voting in this country) and their teabagger base clinging to their dream of a whites-only government (and opposing any immigration reform at all). Too many of the GOP is looking after their own re-election in their teabagger-dominated districts to care what is best for the country (or the long-term prospects of their own party).

Now I don't normally mind seeing the Republicans fight amongst themselves, but the problem is that it currently means nothing is going to get done in Washington -- and none of the serious problems facing this country will be solved. This is another good reason to vote these Republicans out of power in 2014. They need to be booted out -- at least until they can agree on what they want, and are willing to compromise for the good of the country.

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