April 24, 2013

Can House Republicans manage to pass even symbolic bills any more?

It’s beginning to look as if the answer is: No, they cannot.

A bill to transfer money slated to fund the Affordable Care Act exchanges to high-risk pools, a favorite GOP idea, has been pulled from the House floor because it doesn’t have the votes.

Why? For one thing, since these particular pools are part of the ACA, some conservatives don’t consider it a sufficient Obamacare-bashing move. What would they rather do? Go back to voting to repeal the ACA. National Review’s Katrina Trinko has House conservatives pining for the 36 repetitive, futile and increasingly pointless votes to repeal health-care reform that occurred in the 112th Congress.

Sure, the high-risk pool bill would be DOA in the Senate, and if it somehow managed to get through that chamber it would still be veto-bait. But at least it would be something resembling substantive politics. More so than just another repeal vote, anyway.

The bottom line is that Republicans, with their somewhat smaller caucus in the current Congress, are close to incapable of enough agreement to pass anything through the House by themselves but still highly resistant to working with Democrats to get things done. Which means that there’s not really much they can do. Not that they have much of an agenda anyway.

The evidence that the Republican Party is broken, with House Republicans as a prime exhibit, just keeps piling up.