Speaker Boehner’s Strained Definition of Bipartisanship
Jon Healey, The LA Times - House Republicans like to refer to the legislation they’ve passed on energy, the environment, taxes and federal spending as a “bipartisan” package of jobs bills. For example, Speaker John A. Boehner(R-Ohio) said in a televised interview Sunday: “We’ve worked with Democrats. Look through all these jobs bills in the Senate, 30 of them, sitting over there, part of our plan for American job creation. All of them passed with bipartisan support.”
But does bipartisan simply mean at least one Democrat signing on? If that were the case, President Obama could claim that the three main legislative accomplishments of his administration — the 2009 economic stimulus, the 2010 healthcare reform law and the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulation — were all bipartisan, because at some point at least one Republican in the House or Senate voted “yes.”
That’s an absurd definition, yet most of the 30 bills cited by Boehner have similarly weak claims to cross-party support. The measures are part of the House Republicans’ Plan for America’s Job Creators, two of which drew no support at all from Democrats. Those would be the GOP budget proposals for fiscal 2012 and 2013. All but one of the rest attracted, on average, 22 Democratic votes out of a possible 190.
The exception was HR 3012, a bill to adjust the rules for certain types of visas, which passed the House with the backing of 210 Republicans and 179 Democrats. That’s clearly a bipartisan effort.