‘Those knuckleheads in Congress never do anything!” is one of the most tired and commonplace complaints from callers on political talk radio. And yes, many Republicans have found 2017 frustrating so far. No, President Trump hasn’t signed more bills into law than any president ever, as he asserted this month. (He’s signed 42, many of them symbolic resolutions.) No, Congress hasn’t yet repealed Obamacare, passed sweeping tax reform, or negotiated an infrastructure bill.
But don’t blame the House of Representatives. They passed their version of health-care reform back at the beginning of May. House Speaker Paul Ryan is unveiling a plan for tax reform, and the House has passed a couple of smaller but still significant infrastructure bills.
Sources close to Republican House leaders are quick to point out that they don’t want to seem too critical of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. They say they understand there’s a different set of challenges on that side of Capitol Hill, with a much smaller GOP margin, the Democrats’ filibuster threats, and the Senate’s own full plate of confirming the president’s cabinet and judicial nominations. But they feel like the House has pulled its weight so far this year. As one source close to Ryan put it, “The House is doing its job and the bills are piling up in the Senate.”
“If you turn on the TV, it says Russia this and Russia that and countdown clocks and all this stuff,” Ryan said in an interview with Mike Gallagher earlier this month. “We’re doing a lot of other things here in the Congress;…