Tag Archives: Raul Labrador

House members reaching into Senate affairs

It’s downright fun to watch members of one congressional body suggest the way members of the other congressional body should do their job.

Let’s presume that the upper chamber, the Senate, would prefer that the lower chamber, the House of Representatives, mind its own business.


Then again, they’re all on the same team, yes? They’re all interested in doing what’s right and correct for the country, aren’t they?

Maybe so. Maybe not.

U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, thinks the Senate should change its filibuster rules to strip power from Democrats. He wants Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to invoke the so-called “nuclear option” by not allowing Democrats to filibuster GOP-sponsored bills to death. The issue at hand is the Department of Homeland Security funding measure that’s being kicked to death on the floors of both chambers.

Remember when then-Majority Leader Harry Reid did the same thing when Republicans were in the minority? You’d have thought GOP senators’ heads would explode.

Now the fortunes are reversed. The GOP controls the Senate, along with the House. But among the Republican majority there exists a restive band of malcontents, the TEA party caucus, that wants to shake things up not only in their own body, but in the other one as well.

That’s where Labrador and fellow House TEA party insurgent Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., are seeking this change in Senate rules.

Someone needs to inform both of these young men about the institutional rivalry that exists between these two bodies. Senators represent their entire states and serve for six years. Those House members represent certain congressional districts, which have been gerrymandered — more than likely — to elect people of certain ideological stripes; they’re elected to mere two-year terms.

The Senate considers itself a more deliberative body; the House by nature is more raucous. Senators likely won’t admit to it, but they look down their noses at their House colleagues.

Thus, it is at some peril that Reps. Labrador and Huelskamp seek to tell the folks at the other end of the Capitol Building how to conduct their business.

Tread carefully, fellas.


Boehner showing other side

I’m beginning to think more kindly of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner.

The Ohio Republican has taken to criticizing members of his own party, particularly the more stubborn among them who refuse to move legislation forward for a number of reasons that might have little to do with the merits of whatever they’re considering.


Boehner recently mocked House Republicans for refusing to vote on immigration reform. He did so in a kind of a playful way, which reportedly did sit well with many GOP lawmakers.

Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, was one of them not amused by the speaker’s tone. “I was disappointed with Speaker Boehner’s comments, and I think they will make it harder – not easier – to pass immigration reform,” Labrador said. “The vast majority of House Republicans are pro-immigration reform, and we have been working hard to achieve it.”

Boehner’s remarks were couched in a kind of silly tone in which he said of GOP members of Congress, “Ohhhh, this is too hard.”

Boehner, as near as I can tell, is one of those dreaded “establishment Republicans” who thinks government actually can do some good for Americans. He wants to move immigration reform forward but he’s been fighting tooth and nail with the tea party wing of his House caucus who just won’t budge. Some chatter in Washington is suggesting that Boehner may be growing so weary of the constant intra-party battle that he might surrender the speakership at the end of the year. Others say he’s committed to leading the House if members will allow it.

Whatever happens, the speaker is showing another — and I believe more likable — side of himself in this ongoing fight with the tea party wing of Congress.