Thursday, January 24, 2013

Boehner's weakness is America's strength

By Frank Moraes

Just for the record, John Boehner is still a very weak Speaker of the House. The House of Representatives voted to suspend the Debt Ceiling through 18 May. This in itself is a chickshit move. Boehner had decided that he didn't need to make his caucus have to vote to raise the Debt Ceiling; instead, he would just have them ignore it for a while. Why not just "ignore" it forever? And I'm sure that a lot of people in the next set of Republican primaries will ask that very question.

But what makes Boehner look weak is that yet again, he could not get legislation passed without the help of the Democrats. Only 199 Republicans voted for the bill that required at least 230. And this was with the ridiculous unconstitutional[1] "sweetener" of saying the congress doesn't get paid if it doesn't pass a budget. The truth is that it is clear that he can't control his caucus. But the bill did at least fulfill the Hastert Rule, so Boehner has to be pleased about that.

I think we should all be pleased about this vote, however. It shows a willingness on the part of the Republican leadership to work with the Democrats. If Pelosi had whipped the Democratic caucus, Boehner's bill would have likely gone down in defeat. Boehner had to be a little uneasy about bring the bill up for a vote. And more important: he must have brought it to the floor because he thought that the Democrats would work with him. This doesn't mean that it will work the other way around, but it is some movement in the right direction. Boehner is using his weakness for good rather than evil.


[1] The 27th Amendment is really clear: "No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened."

(Cross-posted at Frankly Curious.)

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