Robert Costa reports in the Washington Post that the GOP House leadership has decided to close up shop on bipartisan legislation and focus exclusively on proposals that have wide Republican backing. This would mean no big-ticket items such as immigration reform this year.
One must always be wary of the leadership’s disavowal of intent to pursue immigration reform. It may be an attempt to calm the waters, cause the base to put down its guard, and later, after the time for primary challenges has passed, move forward with amnesty-style reform.
However, the idea of focusing on measures that unite, rather than divide, Republicans makes so much sense that we can’t entirely rule out the possibility that the leadership has embraced it.
As Costa notes, a Washington Post-ABC News poll recently found that just 19 percent of Americans have confidence in congressional Republicans to make the right decisions for the country, while 80 percent do not. In other words, more than half of GOP-leaning voters don’t trust congressional Republicans.
Heading into congressional elections, that’s not a good place to be, even against a party led by Barack Obama. The last thing Republicans should do is to reinforce the distrust of the GOP base by partnering with Obama and congressional Democrats to pass controversial legislation.
Look, then, for Republicans to eschew such legislation and instead push for the Keystone pipeline and for legislation to replace Obamacare. A more bipartisan agenda would be abnormal in an election year even if there were less bitterness between the two parties and even if Republicans were less divided.
But let’s remain vigilant just in case. Keep those calls coming to your Republican representative. You can reach him or her through the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121. The numbers for the House GOP leaders we don’t trust are: