In his "Morning Plum" round-up today at Washington Post, Greg Sargent's collection of items on legislative priorities in the new Congress reads more like a warning than anything else. Buckle up. The serious dysfunction in the Republican House and Senate is only going to get very bad before it gets better.
His opening item details the improbability of the Voting Rights Act, broken in 2013 by the U.S. Supreme Court, being fixed by the Republican majority in both houses any time soon. Indeed, as The Nation's Ari Berman tweets today, even on the heels of the weekend's 50th anniversary commemoration of the Bloody Sunday march for voting rights in Selma, AL, just 10 House Republicans currently support the Republican-authored bill to restore the VRA.
"There's no incentive for House Republicans to act" on it, observes Sargent. That's true, in so much as, ya know, simply doing the right thing would otherwise provide incentive to at least some lawmakers.
Similarly, Sargent notes, it seems unlikely that Republicans will be able to make much progress on immigration reform, a long-promised, so-called GOP version of health care reform, or even on their own legislative priorities, such as tax reform or trade deals, given the necessity of having to deal with Democrats to get almost anything passed in the Senate and a Democratic President who is disinclined to gut programs that "Tea Party" Republicans tend to poison their own legislation with.
But, following last week's predictable GOP brinksmanship on funding for the Dept. of Homeland Security, Sargent cites Ashley Parker at the New York Times and her round up of the long list of must-pass spending bills that are coming due soon with hard deadlines and a likelihood --- some might say certainty, at this point --- that much more governing-by-brinksmanship lies in our near future. All of that, it seems, is all but certain to take up any time that might have been used to pass bills meant to, ya know, actually help the American people...