Issue #208

Congressional Republicans focus on calming their divided ranks

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) speaks to the media after attending a recent House Republican conference at the U.S. Capitol.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) speaks to the media after attending a recent House Republican conference at the U.S. Capitol.

After a tumultuous week of party infighting and leadership stumbles, congressional Republicans are focused on calming their divided ranks in the months ahead, mostly by touting proposals that have wide backing within the GOP and shelving any big-ticket legislation for the rest of the year. Comprehensive immigration reform, tax reform, tweaks to the federal health-care law—bipartisan deals on each are probably dead in the water for the rest of this Congress. GOP brass in both chambers have shifted their focus to stability, looking to avoid intraparty drama, rally behind incumbents, and build Republicans’ ground game ahead of November’s midterm elections, where they hope to be competitive in a slew of Senate races and hold on to the party’s 17-seat House majority. In that vein, championing a handful bills on job growth, energy and regulatory policy—all targeted at courting swing voters but unlikely to win Democratic support—has become a priority, with party leaders planning to spend months seeking consensus among Republicans and avoiding talks on controversial matters. Washington Post, 2-17-14.