But What About the Freshmen?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 20 2011 9:23 AM

But What About the Freshmen?

My new piece is all about the schizo relationship between the House and Senate. The day that the Senate fawned over the "Gang of Six" plan and talked about a possible deal -- however that could work in 13 days -- the House spent its time debating the DOA "Cut, Cap, and Balance" plan. And Marin Cogan tailed a group of GOP freshman over to the White House, for yet another display of futiliity disguised as a show of strength.

Ohio Rep. Bill Johnson said when Republicans “took tax increases off the table, the $4 trillion-dollar deal that the president supposedly advocated fell apart. That’s why we don’t use tax increases to right this ship.”
Some blame the media for not questioning the president strongly enough or reporting on their efforts to pass spending cuts through the House.
“The president can say whatever, but I think you all need to push him. When he says he has a big plan, and he has taxes that he can put on the table and he has all of these pieces, you all need to push him and say, where is it? We want to read it. I haven’t heard you all do that. Don’t let it just be our voice,” Black said to reporters.
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This is a really good point! Sure, these House votes that won't go anywhere in the Senate are, technically, totally in vain. But Republicans keep proposing hard numbers of cuts, and plans that they can explain/demagogue on TV. They do this as some deal of undetermined size and scope and detail is hammered out by other people. The deal that's captivated the Senate (read about it in my piece) specificies the sizes of cuts but leaves the authority for them to relevant committees. Certainly, that's more of a punt than anything the House is doing.

If you're really cynical about it (and I am!) you can view the CCB vote as a way for Republicans to go on record for a plan they can take back to constituents as proof that they're still cutting. Does it free them up to vote for an eventual cave-in? Possibly, but why should it?

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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