The House and Senate are like waves and rocks.
They aren’t exactly Godzilla and King Kong, but they battle each other. A lot. Perhaps the best analogy is like waves crashing against a rocky shore. Republican waves of tax and entitlement reform, proposed spending cuts, and hopes for energy independence crash against the rocks of Democrat obstinacy. The rocks stop the waves, and nothing else happens. The rocks just sit there and do nothing on their own. The Rock-in-Chief doesn’t lead the other rocks to do anything.
You have to feel sorry for John Boehner, the Speaker of the House. His party is divided into two groups: conservative and not-quite-conservative. He’s of the latter group, which means he is willing to compromise on principles to get something done. The former group, in which the Tea Party folks play the most prominent role, torpedoed his “Plan B” Thursday, won’t compromise. They know tax increases aren’t a good thing when the economy is already in recession. John is a good guy, I believe, not the demon the rocks make him out to be. He wants to get things done for the American people, but Harry Reid won’t allow the Senate to take up and vote for any legislation John manages to get through the House.
The House has adjourned until after Christmas. There will be a new vote for speaker on January 3, and Boehner may lose the speakership. Perhaps Eric Cantor will take over. He’s more conservative, and may be less likely to negotiate with Obama and the rest of the rocks. He may make more waves. For more background, see Ezra Klein’s article in the Washington Post, Will Boehner's speakership survive?
Perhaps House Republicans are playing it wrong. They are a sovereign body, after all, the Constitution gives them sole power to initiate revenue bills. When the Senate fails to take up a bill to solve a problem, the House is under no obligation to generate another one. I think once they have passed a bill, they should do nothing further until the Senate takes up the bill and votes it up or down. Let the public know the ball is in the other court. If the Senate does nothing, just keep saying, “we did our job, now do yours” to the Senate.
If the Senate rejects the bill or passes it but the President vetoes it, then the House should wait for guidance from the rejecting body before reconsidering the bill. In other words, stop the public negotiation, the constant unacceptable lines in the sand drawn by both sides. House, just do the job, and hope the rocks do theirs.