The Mitterhoff Address: A disappointing coming year for the 113th Congress

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Matthew Mitterhoff

Two weeks ago, I made the argument that Congress’s passage of a bill that would raise the debt ceiling set “a precedent for future prospects of brinkmanship” among Republicans and Democrats.

According to reports about a meeting between Speaker John Boehner and President Obama held Tuesday, it seems that the likelihood of agreement and productivity between the two parties in both houses of Congress might be a little farfetched, at least for the coming year.

Obama and Boehner (R-Ohio) met at the White House Tuesday, the first public meeting at the White House between the two since 2012, to discuss issues facing the country in the coming year. Among those issues was highway funding, healthcare, troops in Afghanistan, wildfire suppression, drought relief for California, and flood insurance, according to multiple reports about the meeting between the two leaders.

One of the important issues discussed by the Speaker and the President was immigration reform. A bill including new principles for dealing with immigration issues was introduced last month in the House. But, according to a Washington Post article, some members are not inclined to deliberate on and pass immigration legislation; being election season, many members of Congress are not willing to cooperate on issues unpopular with their voters.

Some members are not optimistic about the leadership from both parties coming together to pass essential legislation.

“Everybody around here has the feeling that for the rest of the year, the high-level leadership…is not likely to produce any substantive legislation,” Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) said according to another Washington Post article. “I think it’s just the nature of this place.”

As evidence, Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, said that they do not plan on changing the tax code, due to the Democrats demanding more revenue from wealthy citizens.

As the 114th Congress comes into session, possibly with new majorities in either house, one can only hope that the gridlock between the two parties will subside and Congress will end its session in 2016 with a better reputation than it will at the end of this year.