Welcome Back! GOP Congress Returns To Resume Kabuki Dance Of Governance..SHUT DOWN
After a two-weeks of being berated by their constituents at raucous town halls—and watching Democrats come close to flipping two solidly red districts in Kansas and Georgia—members of Congress return to DC Monday. With few legislative accomplishments under their belts so far, they now face a government funding deadline, a debt ceiling increase, demands from the White House to take another swing at repealing Obamacare, and the daunting, likely impossible task of overhauling the tax code by August.
Though Republicans control both chambers of Congress and the White House, deep divisions on all these issues remain, exacerbated by weeks of finger-pointing and inter-party threats in the wake of the health care bill’s embarrassing demise. And the closer it gets to the 2018 midterm elections, the more cautious members in swing districts will become about sticking their neck out to vote for controversial or unpopular bills.
“They have a lot to accomplish, but it’s a big question mark whether they’ll be able to do it,” said Dan Scandling, who worked as a senior staffer for GOP lawmakers for nearly 25 years. “At some point the Republicans have to start delivering, or their base will start showing up at their town halls saying, ‘Hey, you for years said if we gave you a Republican House and Senate you’d get things done. What’s the holdup?'”
Because members face enormous pressure to at least appear that they are making progress on the people’s business, we can expect to see a great deal of stalling, finger-pointing, earnest press conferences, bouts of secret negotiations, and other forms of political theater in the months ahead. For Republicans, the show must go on.
Government shutdown posturing
The government’s funding will expire at midnight on April 28, giving Congress less than a week to pass either a temporary or long-term budget in order to keep the lights on.
Under President Obama, each government funding and debt ceiling deadline offered Republicans a fresh opportunity to engage in brinksmanship and win concessions on red-meat issues like private school vouchers and abortion. This practice peaked in 2013, when Republicans triggered a two-week government shutdown over the implementation of Affordable Care Act. Read full story here