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Republican Spat In House Shows Nation Mounting Tensions Caused By Tea Party

September 22, 2011

There are some deep and troubling divides within the Republican Party who control the House of Representatives.  Those divisions were on full display Wednesday when right-wing conservatives voted against a leadership bill to fund the government.

The result was chaos, and also probably means that at least a portion of the coming week that was slated for members to return home will instead be spent trying to forge a compromise piece of legislation.

Needless to say compromise is not something that the GOP excels at so this could all turn out to be another of those moments when most Americans correctly conclude that House Republicans are idiots.

GOP leaders were unable to overcome objections from Democrats who believed the bill did not do enough for disaster victims and from conservative Republicans who wanted to use the measure to cut government spending more deeply.

To pass a bill, House leaders will have to rewrite the measure to appease either Democrats or the more conservative wing of their own party. They must send a bill to the Senate for approval before the fiscal year ends Sept. 30. Otherwise, the government will shut down.

The temporary measure is necessary because the House and Senate have failed to agree on appropriations bills to fund government for the whole fiscal year. The stopgap is designed to buy time for negotiations to continue when the fiscal year ends.

House Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) and other GOP leaders had been confident they could muscle the bill over to the Senate despite protests from both sides of the aisle. The loss was the latest illustration of how Boehner and his lieutenants simply do not command 218 votes — the magic number for a victory in the House — on even such basic legislative matters as a temporary funding resolution to keep government agencies functioning.

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