Three Issues in Process
Three of the most important issues that are being worked on currently in the House and Senate are immigration, student loan interest rates, and the House Republicans making a national issue by passing a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks, making this a national issue.
A Gang of Eight composed of four GOP and four Democratic Senators has been working furiously the past couple of weeks to create a bill to present to the full Senate. The chances of this compromise bill being passed in the Senate are rather good. According to Senate Rules 60 votes are required to bring the measure to a vote on the Senate floor. Most of the 54 Democrats will support it, needing the support of only a few Republicans to bring the issue to a vote, which under Senate Rules will then need only 51 votes for passage. Go figure.
However, when the bill gets to the House, Speaker John Boehner says he will not bring it to the floor for a vote unless a majority of his own party is in favor of it. This is the House GOP equivalent to the Senate Filibuster as a way of stopping action on a bill. The bill would probably pass easily if it were brought to the floor with most of the 201 Democrats voting for it along with a small minority of the Republican majority.
Another crisis is that of interest on student loans being doubled on July 1st unless Congress takes action. The House has passed a bill that the Senate refuses to accept, opting to work out a compromise with the White House. The last word is an agreement is close to being reached by the parties.
The question here is whether the Tea Mob in the House will dig in its heels even though the issue could be held against GOP candidates in the 2014 election, or whether they will act sensibly, which they rarely do, and approve whatever measure comes to them from the Senate.
The Republican Party in more than half the states has been passing measure after measure on the issues of abortion and women’s reproductive rights. Some key states in this movement have been Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. Action by individual states on this issue receives little national attention and therefore women in states not affected by these restrictive laws may be unaware of them.
However, due to grassroots Tea Mob pressure the House of Representatives passed a measure banning abortions after 20 weeks with all but six Republicans voting for it and all but six Democrats voting against it. This action nationalizes the Republican Party’s association with the Pro-Life movement and will beome an important issue for Democratic candidates to exploit in 2014.
It is amazing how the Tea Mob Caucuses in both the House and Senate continue to pursue policies that the Republican Establishment based on the financial elite in the United States, are trying to tamp down. The latter group realizes that a majority of American voters are alienated by such actions. To be sure, not even the financial elite is united on these matter as the Koch brothers continue to finance the Tea Mob while Karl Rove and the US Chamber of Commerce adopt a pragmatic position on social issues.
These problems will occupy the attention of Congress during the summer, but toward the end of the year crunch time will arrive again when it again becomes necessary for Congress to vote on increasing the national debt ceiling when the fractured state of the Republican Party will once again be in full view.