“We live in complicated times,” says Indiana Republican Rep. Luke Messer, summing up the struggle as the House of Representatives wrestles with how to handle Democrat representatives’ insistence on injecting President Obama’s social issues agenda into the vital legislation needed to keep the country going.

The Constitution requires all spending bills to originate in the House, because the Founding Fathers considered representatives more closely aligned with the will of the people, as they are up for re-election every two years and therefore more accountable to voters who can express their displeasure quickly and meaningfully by voting them “out.”

And while that framework makes sense, it also provides members a way to hold legislation hostage over issues unrelated to the underlying purpose of a bill, endlessly debating flavor of the moment amendments tacked on to extort votes from the other party.

No member of either side wants to go on the record as having voted against a bill authorizing spending for the military, especially in an election year when any misstep receives instant exposure in media sound bites that cycle continuously until they take on a life of their own.

So when Democrat Rep. Sean Maloney of New York seized on the annual spending bill for water and energy programs and tacked on an amendment codifying Obama’s “bathroom” decree ordering public schools to allow students to choose a bathroom or locker room based on which gender they identify with, House Republicans reacted.

Arizona GOP Rep. Trent Franks, like many others, was forced to oppose the bill, saying, “…the amendment codifies an extra-Constitutional executive order by President (Barack) Obama that would create a new protected class and I think would polarize our society in ways that are completely unnecessary,” referring to Obama’s intent to elevate homosexuals and transgenders to the same status of protected persons under the law as blacks, women, the elderly, and the handicapped.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) is in a difficult position as the budget process to fund the business end of the government continues to be wagged by the social policy arbiter who resides at the other end of Constitution Avenue.

 

 

 

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