Congress Already Has Its Eyes on 2016


Steve Benen comments on the GOP’s 56th vote to repeal Obamacare:

It’s quite a congressional majority, isn’t it? Nearly a month into the new Congress, Republicans have prioritized an oil-pipeline bill they know can’t pass, an immigration package they know can’t pass, changes to Wall Street safeguards they know can’t pass, anti-abortion legislation they know can’t pass, and anti-healthcare measures they know can’t pass.

Dear every pundit who said the GOP was ready prove it can be a governing party: go sit in the corner for a while.

In fairness, President Obama released a budget this week that he also knows can’t pass. The truth is that both parties are jockeying for position right now, setting themselves up for the 2016 election. Republicans want to make sure their base is still with them, while Democrats are making a big play for the middle class. The symbolism of these votes is what’s important right now, not whether they actually mean anything.

We should expect a lot more of this. There’s going to be some compromising here and there in order to get a budget passed, but it’s not clear to me that very much more than that will get accomplished. At this point, neither side really sees much upside in working on half measures when they might be able to get a full loaf after the next election.