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A Modest Proposal

by: tmess2

Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 18:26:46 PM EST


Once again, it is clear that John Boehner lacks the confidence of a sufficient number of Republican members of the House to be able to negotiate a deal on their behalf.  As long as the Speakership is controlled by the leader of the Republican caucus and the Republican caucus insists that a proposal must be able to get 218 Republican votes before it will even be brought up on the floor, nothing major can happen.

While I doubt the folks in Washington would do this, I have a modest little proposal to break at least part of the deadlock that borrows from something that sometimes happens in some of the states.  In DC, the tradition is that the two parties put forward one candidate each for the position of speaker and the majority party elects its candidate.  In several of the states, however, the choice of speaker is somewhat more fluid with different factions in the parties crossing party lines to put forward a  "consensus" speaker.

My proposal to break the current death grip of the Tea Party on congressional business is that moderate Republicans (or even moderately conservative Republicans) put forward a Republican alternative to Boehner whom the Democrats would agree to support.  The terms of the deal would be simple, each committee would be split 50-50 between the two parties with a Republican Chair and a Democratic Vice-Chair.  Both the Chair and the Vice-Chair would have the power to schedule hearings and votes on legislation and a tie-vote in the committee would be enough to move the legislation forward.  (On amendments in committee, a tie-vote would get the amendment forwarded to the Rules Committee for consideration as a possible floor amendment.  In the Rules Committee, any potential amendment that got a tie vote for consideration on the floor would be one of the amendments to be considered on the floor,)  You would still need to get 218 votes to approve the final rule from the Rule Committee, but Democrats would at least get their proposals brought to the floor for a vote on the Rule (and would only need to get 17 Republican votes to pass the Rule and the final bill).

This proposal is probably too sensible as it would break the iron grip of the majority on the House, but in an age when three-quarters of Representatives are more scared about their base supporting a primary challenger than the possibility of losing a general election. something needs to be done to give moderates a chance to work out compromises without needing to get the support of the most extreme wing of their party to even get a vote on the measure.

tmess2 :: A Modest Proposal

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A Modest Proposal | 6 comments
Um...you forgot the Hastert Rule (0.00 / 0)
The problem is the Hastert Rule, which seems to only apply to Republicans, and which says that Republican Speakers cannot move legislation to the floor without a majority of Republicans supporting it. It's why Boehner couldn't move the Senate bill, even if he could have gotten it passed with the Democratic votes plus 25 Republican votes.

They hold themselves in line, no matter the cost to the country.

I'm not saying your idea is a bad one, but it's impractical given the current Republican absolute adherence to destroying the government.

I guess I'm also confused about which "moderate Republican" you could get that would be acceptable to any Democrat. All the Republicans in the House have A or B ratings from the NRA, plus are anti-health care (except for owning uteri), anti-education, anti-safety net....you know.

I think the answer has to do with the "moderate" Republicans growing a collective spine and saying NO to Grover Norquist, the NRA, the Koch Brothers and the rest of their puppet masters.

Until that happens, the only hope is that we, the grassroots, do EVERYTHING we can to take back the House in 2014.


Not sure why the GOP house that seems quite content on being a road block to everything would make any concessions. (0.00 / 0)
 if taxes go up and spending cuts whack the size of govt at the same time, they are happy to run on Obama and the democrats cutting popular programs and raising taxes. if the economy goes back into recession so much the better, never mind that these things happened because they failed to offer realistic proposals.

with any luck and if we progressives keep hammering them for their inaction, maybe 2014 will finish undoing the 2010.

if we manage to go over the cliff and still are better off in 2014 than we are now, maybe we will get rid of enough of them, but who knows.  


Boehner IS the moderate Republican (0.00 / 0)
It's not like the Speaker is a dyed-in-the-wool arch-conservative.

If the Republicans were in charge of the Senate, something like that might make a lot of sense, particularly because it could unclog filibusters. And heck, if there was a deal that could get a "consensus" speaker in the House AND a consensus leader in the Senate, I'd jump at it...I have no great love for Reid. But even in that scenario, I'm with Jessica--I just don't know who is a more plausible consensus speaker than Boehner, who has been completely unsuccessful.


Uh... (0.00 / 0)
Scott, you brought something up that I've thought a lot about, but it didn't gel until I saw you write:

It's not like the Speaker is a dyed-in-the-wool arch-conservative.

What the hell **IS** a conservative, anyway? We used to know. Conservatives wanted government out of people's lives (except for infrastructure), wanted to fund the military-industrial complex, understood that infrastructure and other government spending on things like education benefited us all, and believed that it was okay to spend money on the safety net for the VERY neediest. They didn't care about social issues, in fact, they felt the government should stay OUT of it.

Remember that it was Nixon who put forth a health care plan that was more "left" than the ACA. AND had mandates. It was Ike who fought for the interstate highway system. There were a lot of House and Senate Republicans who voted for parts of the New Deal, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

But now, "conservative" has a different meaning, although I'm not perfectly crystalline on what it is. What I do know is that whoever they are, and whatever they represent, John Boehner has put forth their agenda. All the votes he called to kill the ACA, for example. What were there, 33 votes? All the anti-Planned Parenthood votes. All the anti-abortion legislation. If he's not a 2012 conservative, he's doing a pretty good imitation.

And by the way, since we're talking about Republicans, let's talk Lincoln for a minute. I was chatting with my Republican next door neighbor. We had bet on the election, and he owes me dinner and a movie. I suggested Lincoln. He countered with The Hobbit, but I digress. We started talking about Lincoln, and I said that I'd recently read that Lincoln was gay. He told me that was old news, why did I think the group "Log Cabin Republicans" had chosen that name? HHHMMMNNN...learn something new every day. So to bring this full circle, while I don't know what a conservative is, I know what their agenda is, and they wouldn't elect Lincoln today. Go figure.


[ Parent ]
maybe the last of the "moderate" Gopers could make a deal to pick up (4.00 / 1)
and cross the aisle permantly for plumb assignments and for keeping bohner as speaker? now that might work, but would the dems give them that for two years. that would mean bohner would need to find what? 16 fellow gopers to come over to the dem side and get or keep good assignments, get a part of what they want and then run against tea party nuts in 2014, which they were gonna have to do anyway.... with the dccc behind them, promise of no dccc support for opposition dems in primaries. looks like a workable plan.....

Time for a non-Republican Speaker (0.00 / 0)
This was discussed on a different forum the other day. The rules of the House don't even require the Speaker to be a member of the House of Representatives. It only requires that each Party nominate a person for the position, then it is voted on.

So if the Republican are so divided, the hard line Conservatives might not back or vote for Boehner was the discussion. I don't think they would vote for Pelosi either, and would vote for their Republican to keep her out of the position, no matter who the Republican caucus picks to run for Speaker. But are there any outsiders that be ran that could cross party lines and be a good Speaker?

Won't happen, but fun to think about.........


A Modest Proposal | 6 comments


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