A Powerless Speaker

John Boehner can’t wrangle the votes for the most basic of government tasks.

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John Boehner

The House of Representatives is a train wreck because the speaker is the leader of the smallest of the three caucuses in the lower house of Congress.

 The House, like Caesar's Gaul, is divided into three parts, or in this case parties. The tea party is the dominant force in the House, followed by Nancy Pelosi's Democratic caucus and last and certainly least what's left of the old Republican party under Speaker John Boehner.

Boehner doesn't have any more power to pass a bill than Tim Tebow has skill to throw a perfect spiral. Last month, Boehner was unable to wrangle the votes necessary to pass the farm bill because of tea party opposition.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Congress.]

Last week was the sixth anniversary of the sad day when the I-35 Bridge in Minneapolis collapsed, killing 13 people. Last month, bridges in the states of Washington and Missouri crashed. But despite the urgent need for federal funds to put Americans to work to repair our rotted infrastructure, Boehner had to pull the transportation funding bill off the floor for lack support from the tea party. The failure to pass a transportation funding bill jeopardizes the jobs of thousands of construction workers and the livelihoods of their families.

Since Boehner can't hold the Republicans in the House together, he will keeping having more and more votes on the one thing the tea party and the Republican Party agree on, which is the repeal of Affordable Care Act. The House's final action before taking off for summer vacation was to vote for the 40th time in a pointless attempt to repeal the law. But the House left town for a month without doing anything to further immigration reform or to fund government operations for the 2014 fiscal year, which starts in less than two months.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the tea party.]

While the House blissfully ignores public concern about the economy, the nominal speaker tried to put the best spin on a strategy of delay and do little by saying that the job of the House was stop things from happening. The problem with Boehner's take is that the world keeps on spinning and creating problems while the House sits.

Republicans Tom Delay and John Doolittle both left Congress under a cloud, but their spirits haunt the House of Representatives. Expect more of the same if John Boehner can't get his act and party together.

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