House Republicans Can’t Govern Their Own Caucus Let Alone America

If we had a parliamentary form of government, this kind of stalemate in the governing coalition would lead to a new election. When the political system gets stuck in place, it’s time to give the voters the chance to break the logjam. Unfortunately, due to the district make-up of the US House, most Americans could vote to give Democrats control by a decent 2012-sized margin, and Republicans could still retain their majority. It would have to be a huge wave for Democrats to take back the House. And as Jake Sherman shows, that wave cannot come soon enough:

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.

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.

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.

The House simply isn’t interested in the agendas being pushed by the president and Democratic Senate. Most Republicans aren’t looking for a big legislative push on gun control. GOP leaders are skeptical that they can arrive at a framework to negotiate a budget agreement with Senate Democrats. And tax reform and an immigration overhaul, while broadly supported, are still seen as long shots.

Members of leadership have trouble staying on the same page. Cantor is anxious to move on his agenda, but McCarthy needs to gather support in a House Republican Conference that’s filled with lawmakers constantly divided on leadership’s priorities.

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