The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Politics

April 11, 2013

Signs of cooperation start to appear in Congress

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

Bending on immigration is a matter of survival for Republicans, who know their hard-line stance has put them at odds with an increasingly diverse country.

And dinners such as the one at the White House on Wednesday used to be commonplace back when it was expected that the two parties could engage civilly and respectfully, no matter their differences on the issues.

"We are making progress," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, hours before she attended the dinner. "These are really substantive discussions on issues of the day, and we haven't had that in a long time."

Moving forward over the next few weeks on gun control and immigration overhaul does not necessarily establish a new political dynamic in which Obama and the Republicans in Congress can later tackle the bigger challenges of tax and entitlement reform — a "grand bargain" that both sides say is crucial to the country's economic future.

But the flip side does hold true: If they cannot come together on these narrower issues, it is difficult to see how they would trust each other enough to go for broader compromises. That lack of faith is the reason that Washington decision making in recent years has happened only when catastrophe is looming — government shutdowns, the debt-ceiling and a "fiscal cliff," all crises of Washington's own making.

One of the things that appears to be happening is a return to the way that Congress normally used to work, with a broader cross section of its members getting involved in shaping deals — and, therefore, becoming invested in making them work.

Of late, issues do not get hashed out in a conference room in the House speaker's office or at the Senate majority leader's desk. Committee chairmen and rank-and-file senators are in the mix, cutting deals among themselves and outside interest groups, pledging to fight for them throughout the process.

Text Only
Politics
  • With 1 week to go, Sanford subject of attacks

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford can’t seem to escape attacks on the extramarital affair that derailed his political career, which he hopes to revive in a special congressional election that is now a week away.

    May 1, 2013

  • Bombing shifts Mass. Senate race before primaries

    BOSTON — Even before the explosions, polling suggested that Massachusetts voters weren’t excited about the looming special election to replace former U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

    April 28, 2013

  • In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites

    WASHINGTON — America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.

    April 28, 2013

  • Senate Democrats put off vote on Labor nominee

    WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats have delayed a confirmation vote on Labor Secretary-nominee Thomas Perez after Republicans threatened to use a separate hearing to criticize his handling of a whistleblower case.

    April 24, 2013

  • Sen. Baucus' decision to retire sets stage for majorlegislative changes

     Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the most influential congressional figures of his era, announced his intention Tuesday to retire, a move that could produce sweeping changes in the political and legislative landscape over the next two years.

    April 24, 2013

  • Senate friendship born of tragedy beat partisanship

    These days, most dispatches from Washington focus on petty partisanship, posturing, impasses and a political culture that rewards confrontation.

    April 22, 2013

  • Rubio rising

    If Marco Rubio helps pass comprehensive immigration reform, he will have accomplished more as a senator than Barack Obama did.

    April 22, 2013

  • Gun Bill's Failure May Help Immigration Legislation

    WASHINGTON — Here's an odd political reality: The collapse of the gun bill in the Senate last week may well make the passage of immigration reform legislation slightly easier.

    April 21, 2013

  • Senate Planning Vote on Internet Sales Tax

    WASHINGTON — The days of tax-free online shopping could finally be numbered.

    April 21, 2013

  • Advocates of Immigration Reform Fight Back Against Push for Delay

    WASHINGTON — The Senate's leading supporters of overhauling the nation's immigration system sought Sunday to blunt a conservative effort to slow the pace of debate over their bill, saying the Boston Marathon bombings are a reason to move quickly to make changes.

    April 21, 2013

Featured Ads
Politics Video