Think back to last year at this time…we were about to change the face of the United States Congress. We booted out several Democrats who were big Obamacare supporters, and replaced them with new GOP members, who were pissed at how congress wasn’t getting anything done. Congress is getting set day after tomorrow to return to work to finish the first part of its session. So, how are they doing?
Well, overall, they’re not nearly as bad as the congress we left behind. Harry Reid is going to be retiring, and doesn’t have much to say behind those sun glasses (he still needs them? or is he crying?). And they ARE passing bills. The senate has already passed more bills this session than they did the entire two-year stint of the last session. But they aren’t substantial, country-changing bills. They just don’t have the votes.
Most people know that the in the House of Representatives, you have a simple majority that rules, and you need to pass something with two-thirds majority (67%) if it is to over-ride a presidential veto. In the Senate, they work under different rules. You really need 60 votes to pass anything, because the opposition can filibuster, and it takes 60 votes to cut off the filibuster. It also takes 67 votes to over-ride a presidential veto. And therein lies the problem. The GOP only have 54 votes.
Now, Harry Reid decided in the last congress to make presidential appointments need only 51 votes, and of course, budgetary items have only needed 51 votes for a while. But you still have to get over the 67 vote hurdle in the senate if you’re going to do something like defund Obamacare…because Bobo is going to veto it.
To blame congress for not getting much done so far this term really is unfair. Now, I’m not a fan of John Boehner or Mitch McConnell, two guys that want to see things stay pretty much the way they are now…and are happy to just bump along and kick the can down the road. That has never appealed to me. They were elected to make the tough decisions, they need to make the tough decisions. Sometimes that means you’re unpopular. So be it. If you didn’t want the heat, you shouldn’t have run for office.
But still, there is the simple matter of the rules. It’s not Boehner and McConnell’s fault voters only gave them 54% control in the senate and 56.5% control in the house. You really can’t do much with a president who will veto everything he doesn’t like with those numbers. Oh, you can certainly stop the Democrats from doing anything (unless the president wants to go crazy with executive orders), but to exact long-term change, you still need more people, or a Republican president.
And that my friends, is why the GOP feels this upcoming election is so critical. They can erase that 67% veto override that’s needed and just deal with the 60% they need in the senate. Of course, the GOP is in the unenviable position that the Democrats were in during the 2014 elections…they are going to be defending more seats than the other party this time around.
Will congress do it’s job between now and the end of the year? Nope. They’ll kick the can down the road. Oh, Obama will get some victories. He’ll get the Iran deal passed…that’s a done deal, but other than that, there won’t be REAL change. That’s going to have to wait until 2017 I’m afraid.
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!