Thursday, April 6, 2017

Why do Republicans want a majority in Congress?

Another healthcare "negotiation" is failing.  At this point, I'm not being sarcastic.  The GOP has organized itself as an opposition party-- opposition to Obama and Obamacare-- for so long that the question they need to answer is this:  why do they want to be the majority rather than the opposition party in the legislature?

In the Senate, when the President is a Republican, they want to confirm his plagiarist nominees, but beyond that, what's the point?  So far, the Republicans haven't gotten any real legislation passed, aren't close to doing so, and have no prospects of doing so.  As we are all tired of saying, "this isn't normal."

 Majorities used to serve a purpose in the House too.  Gary Cox and Mathew McCubbins, in Legislative Leviathan, describe the majority party as a cartel, controlling procedure such that what gets to the floor of Congress is the legislation that unites the party and provides an electoral benefit by creating a positive brand name for the majority party.  And perhaps therein lies the problem.  There is little that truly unites the party when the House Freedom Caucus won't agree to compromises with the more moderate wing of the party, such as it is, and when it came to healthcare, the concern of the moderate wing was that taking away subsidies or the Medicaid expansion, by removing financial benefits that currently exist, wouldn't actually be electorally beneficial, even if some others' premiums would go down.

That leaves the Republicans with little to do right now, though.  They'll ram through Plagiarist-Gorsuch's nomination, and pass a tax cut, but beyond that, they sort of need to figure out why they want a majority.  A cartel without a product is a lousy cartel indeed.

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