Then things will change – and change quite a lot. From the Wall Street Journal:
The U.S. Senate failed to advance another piece of popular bipartisan legislation late Monday, and the reason tells the real story of Washington gridlock in the current Congress. To wit, Harry Reid has essentially shut down the Senate as a place to debate and vote on policy.
The Majority Leader’s strategy was once again on display as the Senate failed to get the 60 votes to move a popular energy efficiency bill co-sponsored by New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen and Ohio Republican Rob Portman. Mr. Reid blamed the defeat on Republican partisanship. But the impasse really came down to Mr. Reid’s blockade against amendments that might prove politically difficult for Democrats.
The Nevadan used parliamentary tricks to block energy-related amendments to an energy bill. This blockade is now standard procedure as he’s refused to allow a vote on all but nine GOP amendments since last July. Mr. Reid is worried that some of these amendments might pass with support from Democrats, thus embarrassing a White House that opposes them.
In the case of Portman-Shaheen, Republicans had prepared amendments to speed up exports of liquefied natural gas; to object to a new national carbon tax; to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency’s war on coal plants; and to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline. A majority of the public supports these positions and many Democrats from right-leaning or energy-producing states claim to do the same. The bill against the EPA’s coal-plant rules is co-sponsored by West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin.
Yet the White House and Mr. Reid’s dominant liberal wing won’t take the chance that a bipartisan coalition might pass these amendments, most of which the House has passed or soon would. President Obama would thus face a veto decision that would expose internal Democratic divisions. So Mr. Reid shut down the amendment process. Republicans then responded by refusing to provide the 60 votes necessary to clear a filibuster and vote on the underlying bill…
You understand that? As was true back when Clinton was President, the GOP has a lot of very popular proposals which would be very difficult for the President to just outright veto. But unlike back then, we only control half of Congress – and to ensure that the President is not confronted with either vetoing popular legislation or enraging his cronies or far-left supporters, Reid has essentially crippled the Senate’s ability to move legislation. We don’t really have partisan gridlock – we have Reid-lock. Senate Majority Leader Reid, desperate to protect Obama, has made the legislature unworkable, thus sparing Obama difficult decisions and allowing Obama to use his pen and phone to advance policies which would be deadly politically if voted on in the Senate.
If we win this November, however, things will change – a GOP-led Senate will be able to advance legislation to the White House, which would either force Obama to sign popular bills opposed by cronies/liberals, or veto them and face the wrath of the electorate (in this case, in the form of weakening Democrat prospects for 2016 with the risk that a GOP President in combination with a GOP Congress would undo Obama’s legacy). It would be quite a pickle for Obama to be in – he’d have to either surrender, or suffer crushing defeat of his ideology in 2016.
This is why it is so crucial for us to win in 2014. The debate will change – it won’t be “partisan, Teabagger Republicans” causing the problem as legislation dealing with all our pressing issues (with input from Democrats – meaning we won’t be able to just get all we want) regularly arrives at Obama’s desk. Then the ball is in his court and he’ll have to do what he hates most: make hard and fast decisions that he is clearly accountable for.
It’ll be endless fun.