Monkey House

The Republican-dominated House is looking more ridiculous than ever, if that’s even possible. The latest debacle is the defeat of a farm bill that included deep cuts to food stamps. Most House Dems voted against it, and so did 62 House Republicans. The Dems objected because it cut food stamps too much. The Republicans, however, appeared to think it didn’t cut food stamps enough.

Anyhoo, having failed to move its extremist wing to pass something that might actually, you know, become law, the leadership of the House Republicans blamed Democrats.

Greg Sargent:

The leadership of the House GOP — which, last time I checked, controls the Lower Chamber – is blaming Democrats for failing to deliver enough votes to make passage possible. A spokesman for Eric Cantor claimed it shows Dems “are not able to govern.”

Charles Pierce:

The Republicans, and noted soprano-singing House Speaker John Boehner, who last saw his balls in October of 2010, have decided that the blame really lies in a reluctance by Democrats to be properly complicit in making poor children hungry enough to pull themselves up by their bootstraps rather than eating them.

Jim Newell:

Then the Republican leadership blames Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for only bringing 24 Democratic “aye” votes to the table. Jesus. We’re not sure that Nancy Pelosi got 24 votes from the Republican Party on all major bills combined in the years 2009 and 2010. Also, there’s a reason that most Democrats didn’t vote for this farm bill, and that’s because they hate it, because it assaults the social safety net. But yeah, anyway, sure, this is Nancy Pelosi’s fault, boo, she’s evil and wears a lot of makeup, boo.

Newell also writes,

Now then, what’s the problem? Oh right, it’s the House of Representatives, which is terrible at everything, and offers no indication of being any other way until at least 2023. Let’s give some credit: They’re adept at passing go-nowhere bills to repeal Obamacare or ban abortion or tattoo the words “Under God” to every baby’s forehead. Great work there from the House Republican Party. On issues that might appeal to an even slightly broader cross-section of the country, though, they’ve got nothing. You know this. You’ve seen the same routine in nearly every important vote since 2009. Remember that time the government considered arbitrarily defaulting on the public debt and destroying the global economy forever? That was a head-scratcher for the House; took some real “working out” before they concluded it would best be averted, for now.

It always works out the same way, at the 11th hour. A Senate-originated compromise, after much pouting, is taken up by the House after several defeats of their own insane legislation. Maybe a tweak or two is offered. The House passes it. Conservatives serve up uncreative epithets for John Boehner for exercising the only decent option available to him. The next big piece of legislation comes up. And, at least as of yesterday’s farm bill flop, they begin this same fatal cycle of time wasting again.

This pretty much means that the only way real legislation can be passed in the House is with a substantial number of Dem votes, because the Clown Caucus won’t pass anything that resembles actual governance.

Charles Pierce explains the implications for an immigration reform bill:

Mind you, Boehner couldn’t whip enough votes out of his caucus to pass this mess, which included enough hometown pork to bring Dan Rostenkowski back from the dead. Keep that in mind when you consider that he is the guy who’s supposed to get a reasonable immigration bill through this monkeyhouse. I keep hearing that they want the “Gang of 8” proposal to get 70 votes in the Senate. This, allegedly, will “put pressure” on the House to pass a decent immigration reform bill. This is completely absurd. Pressure from whom? Boehner? Marco Rubio, who got booed in front of the Capitol yesterday? One half of the national legislature is utterly in the hands of the inmates of Bedlam. What possible reason is there to believe that anything will get done? Hell, Steve King is even nuttier on immigration than he is on poor kids.

Josh Marshall agrees, saying in effect that Boehner’s only real choice is to give the House a relatively “moderate” (by Washington standards) immigration bill that Dems will vote for, and then get out of the way. No bill will be approved by the House extremists that would be acceptable to anyone else.

See also Elise Foley, “Farm Bill Failure Shows John Boehner’s Tight Spot on Immigration.”

Update: Details on what happened — in short, the House Republican Crazies loaded the bill up with amendments to make it toxic to Dems, and then complained the Dems “sandbagged” them by not voting for the bill — see Roll Call and Politico.