Congress Is Finally Back On Track

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by Karl Rove,

from The Wall Street Journal,

The new Republican leadership has ended the Reid-Pelosi dysfunction.

The dysfunctional Congress finally appears to be working again as the Founders intended. Lawmakers are negotiating, voting on bills and actually passing legislation. As proof of this, National Journal’s Charlie Cook points to three things: congressional approval of a permanent “doc fix” to prevent cuts to physician reimbursements under Medicare; extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program; and passage of budget resolutions by the House and Senate.

There’s even more evidence. This week Senate Democrats agreed to move forward on a human-trafficking bill without undoing a 39-year-old ban on federal funding of abortion. In response, Senate Republicans cleared the way for a vote, scheduled Thursday, on President Barack Obama’s nominee for attorney general, Loretta Lynch.

Leaders on the Senate Finance and the House Ways and Means committees fashioned a bipartisan agreement on Trade Promotion Authority, a plan to grant the president the ability to negotiate trade agreements with the guarantee of an up-or-down congressional vote.

House and Senate negotiators appear close to ironing out the differences between their budget resolutions. This will expedite consideration of appropriations bills that fit within the budget caps they agree to. The two chambers’ appropriations committees might even be on track to complete all 12 spending bills before the next fiscal year starts Oct. 1, which last happened in 1996.

Leadership aides say the House is readying a flood of bills aimed at helping the economy, ones that passed the chamber last session with bipartisan support, only to die in the Senate, blocked by then-Majority Leader Harry Reid. There’s even talk about passing a multiyear highway-funding bill and some form of corporate tax reform.

All of this is happening primarily because House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have restored regular order to their respective chambers. Lawmakers are now expected to work on bills in committee, grinding through the process, rather than waiting to have measures dropped from above without time to read, adjust or amend them. Nancy Pelosi’s philosophy of governing—“we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it”—is dead.

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