Analysis: Congress Can Still Do Deals When It Must
|By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press|
That's been in short supply as lawmakers have tried to tackle a surge of Central American youths entering the U.S. from
And more compromise will be needed next month to keep the government open past September, renew expired tax breaks, reauthorize the
However, when it came to improving veterans' health care, overhauling job training programs, authorizing water projects and "unlocking" cellphones for use in other networks,
The recent wave of lawmaking fell into two broad categories: bills
The must-do bills included
The veterans bill came together when Democrats agreed to lower the price tag and Republicans accepted adding the additional cost to the national debt. On the highway bill, Senate Democrats bowed to House Republicans on financing it through anticipated revenues the government might or might not reap a decade from now.
Those weren't the only deals in
Legislation on job training programs advanced after House Republicans dropped their most ideological demands and worked closely with Democratic veterans like Rep.
A water resources measure, sealed in May and signed by President
Still, several important bills face trouble as some committee chairmen pursue ideology over pragmatism.
Hensarling, a favorite of the right and former head of the conservative Republican Study Committee, has appeared uninterested in cutting deals with Democrats. That puts his panel at odds with the counterpart
On some issues, Hesnarling probably won't get his way.
His leadership was undermined this year when coastal state lawmakers succeeded in weakening recent changes to the government's much-criticized flood insurance program. He seems likely to lose to the
"We do have more ideological people taking these ranking member and chair positions," said Rep.
With the departure of Miller, Harkin, Waxman and Camp, and Reps.
As a result of rapid turnover, the concentration of lawmaking power has moved to leadership offices instead of committees. The increasing polarization on
"It involves a lot of patience, perseverance. Things always don't happen right away," Waxman said. "The key is that you need compromise. And unfortunately, there are a lot of new Republicans — tea party, right-wing Republicans — who think that compromise is a dirty word and talking to the Democrats is like complicity with the enemy."
Waxman's fingerprints are all over the Affordable Care Act, major
"Except for the Affordable Care Act, every bill that I authored that became law had some Republican support," Waxman said. "I always worked with them to try to find a way to make it bipartisan."
EDITOR'S NOTE —
An AP News Analysis
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