Whew! House Passes Supplemental!
The House passed a $694 million border bill that's better than nothing. Had the House tried to pull off what the Senate got away with, they would have been attacked mercilessly.
Some late-night observations about the House-passed Supplemental bill:
- It’s not a perfect bill. It’s probably not even a very good bill. But it is better than nothing. Much better than nothing.
- The media has a double-standard when it comes to the House and the Senate. The House sweated to pass their supplemental. The Senate didn’t bother to break a sweat and left town without even trying. Had the House tried to pull off what the Senate got away with, they would have been attacked mercilessly.
- Now, the House doesn’t have to come back for the August break and, ironically, neither does the Senate.
- The House leadership played this exactly right. They scheduled the vote on Thursday, which gave them an extra day to actually pass this without losing their weekend. Brilliant.
- They also had plenty of stuff they could jettison and other stuff they could use to make the bill more passable. So they added some stuff and took out some other stuff, and got a bill that 218 Republicans could stomach.
- This whole crisis hurts Obama more than House Republicans. Even if the House Republicans did nothing, the president and his party are taking more heat for the whole situation. But the GOP is in far better shape now that they passed something.
- By passing this House bill, the Republicans have set the terms of the conference negotiations. Nobody thought that the president was going to get his entire supplemental request, even out of the Senate. That number is now likely to be much lower because the House went first. If the Senate tries to far exceed that number, they will be attacked for being profligate with taxpayer money, a position that most Red State Democrats don’t want to be in going into the November election.
- These bills won’t help Republicans with Hispanic voters and will probably hurt the cause, and they better understand that going into this election. If they don’t do something later this year on immigration reform, they better plan on doing something early next year.
- This is a pretty nice victory for Rep. Steve Scalise (R) of Louisiana and his new whip team. It has been a baptism by fire for the new leadership team, and while it might seem like a rocky start, it is far better to win than to lose. Scalise deserves credit for listening to his members and working with the speaker and the majority leader to craft a solution.
- Sen.Ted Cruz (R) of Texas made a fool out of himself by once again pretending to run for speaker of the House. His strategy is pretty simple. Block any progress and then blame both the House and Senate leadership (on both sides) for the lack of progress. It is a cynical strategy first deployed by former Sen. Jim DeMint (R) of South Carolina. At some point, he needs to be held accountable.
John Feehery publishes his Feehery Theory blog at http://www.thefeeherytheory.com/.