An influential conservative group in Washington has issued marching orders to Republicans in the wake of the series of scandals engulfing Washington with a clear message: focus on probing scandals and linking them to Obama, rather than dealing with potentially controversial legislation.
In a letter addressed to House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Heritage Action, the lobbying arm of the Heritage Foundation, wrote Thursday that it would be "imprudent" to allow any legislative matters to get in the way of the recent events that have "rightly focused the nation's attention squarely on the actions of the Obama administration."
The letter continued:
It is incumbent upon the House of Representatives to conduct oversight hearings on those actions, but it would be imprudent to do anything that shifts the focus from the Obama administration to the ideological differences within the House Republican Conference. To that end, we urge you to avoid bringing any legislation to the House Floor that could expose or highlight major schisms within the conference."
Heritage says "controversial" legislation like the proposed Internet sales tax or FARRM Act because of its $800 billion in "food stamp spending" should be pushed aside because potential party infighting "would give the press a reason to shift their attention away from the failures of the Obama administration to write another 'circular firing squad' article."
And yet, the legislation that divides the House GOP has a much better chance of getting signed into law than bills like the 37th repeal of Obamacare. Some of the only substantive legislation signed into law this year--the Violence Against Women Act and Superstorm Sandy aid package--required moderate Republicans to split from their extreme colleagues and join Democrats.
If House leadership continues to heed the warning, it could mean the 113th Congress is even less productive than the "Do Nothing" 112th was. With only 128 days left on the legislative calendar for 2013, and hints from Boehner that his 37th vote to repeal Obamacare was far from the end, it already almost appears inevitable.
The Heritage vision of Congress played out Friday as the House Ways and Means Committee grilled outgoing IRS commissioner Steven Miller on what he knew.
Despite all the recent talk in Washington about scandals, the vast majority of Americans continue to say that job creation is their number one priority, while just over half of the country is paying attention to the scandals with the Benghazi attacks or the IRS.
Perhaps that's why the president is in Maryland Friday talking about jobs.