House Leadership Plans Dumbest Kabuki Theater Ever


This is a truly bad idea:

In a closed-door GOP conference meeting Friday morning, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said all 12 appropriations bills will be finished in committee by the end of next week. Starting Monday, leadership will begin a tentative whip count on whether lawmakers would vote for a package before the August recess that combines all of those bills into one $1 trillion government funding bill.

These are appropriations bills that have no prospect of becoming law for the simple reason that they must be melded with Senate versions, and the Senate versions need to gain the approval of at least eight Democratic senators.

The House Appropriations bills are more aspirational. They’re almost like a budget bill that lays out priorities and principles for the party but don’t have the force of law. They obviously include crippling cuts to popular programs, and asking lawmakers to vote for these bills and on all the accompanying Democratic troublemaking amendments will just needlessly imperil their reelection efforts.

But it’s dumber that just this. Part of the idea is that it will let rank-and-file conservatives let off a little pent-up steam.

The idea, first proposed by Rep. Tom Graves, a senior appropriator, is to give House Republicans a chance to pass a red-meat spending bill that will lay out GOP priorities. Though the bill would never pass the Senate in the face of Democratic opposition, the process would allow House Republicans to offer potentially hundreds of amendments, an exercise that excites members who are frustrated that they’ve had no input on how to fund the government.

These amendments will mean nothing. They’ll mostly be deeply unpopular. It’s as if the Republican leadership is signing off on a plan for the backbenchers to troll their vulnerable members.

And it get’s even worse:

Perhaps more worrisome: The bill might fail on the floor, which would provoke another flood of damaging headlines about the GOP’s deep divisions and inability govern…

…That’s why GOP leaders want the conference to commit to passing the final bill — whatever it looks like — before they move down this path. McCarthy asked members to read the various spending bills over the weekend and be ready to give leadership feedback next week.

Leadership has reminded members that they won’t get everything they want, and if their amendments or ideas fail on the floor, they should be ready to support the final version anyway.

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