Why We Should Expect Another Year of GOP Intransigence

In what doesn’t come as much of a surprise, House Republicans have rejected the payroll tax compromise passed overwhelmingly by Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, and endorsed by President Obama. Here’s ThinkProgress with a nifty screengrab:

The important thing to note about this—besides the fact that Democrats will loudly hammer on the payroll tax cut until Republicans begin to suffer politically—is that we should only expect more of this behavior from House Republicans as time goes on. Remember, given the extent to which the House operates under a party cartel (a majority of the majority is needed for assent to any legislation), John Boehner had little room to manuever when Tea Party Republicans spoke out against the compromise, which he had agreed to a day earlier.

In addition to this, you have to consider that 2012 is a presidential election year, and House Republicans will have little appetite for compromise with a president who, as members of the GOP, they have a fair chance of beating in the general election. It should be said that the same goes for Senate Republicans and Obama’s attempts to fill the federal judiciary.

At present there are 14 vacancies and 6 pending nominees on the circuit courts of appeal, along with 63 vacancies and 29 pending nominees on the district courts. I’d be surprised if those numbers budged over the course of next year; given the odds of a Republican president on January 21, 2013, Republicans would be silly to allow Democratic appointees on the federal bench. Which, it should be said, only highlights the extent to which Obama has done a miserable job of filling the executive branch and balancing the courts.