Making Washington Work

Bill Scher

Earlier today I brought my annoying optimism to MSNBC to make the case that Washington is not broken.

Yes, Republicans are furiously obstructing all they can, and this Congress may be end up being one of the least productive in history. But Republicans have relented under pressure several times since President Obama’s re-election. So it’s important not to succumb to pessimism and stop trying, even if the odds seem low.

Once he decided to fully surrender on the debt limit, Speaker John Boehner said to his caucus, “I’m getting this monkey off your back.” Immigration is another monkey on their back, and with a strong enough push we can make a minimum wage monkey, too.

The recent evidence shows Boehner gives in when he sees it in his party’s political best interest to do so: be it debt limit, Bush tax cuts, disaster relief or domestic violence protections. It’s our job to make it crystal clear to Boehner what is in his political best interest.

These aren’t pipe dreams. There is significant support for immigration reform among some conservatives, and Republicans have a long history of standing down on minimum wage hikes.

Boehner may have just surrendered. This is no time for progressives to surrender.

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