President Obama suggested maybe some House Republicans might want to consider acting more like nice Republican senators in a speech about the economy on Wednesday. The economy is recovering from the Great Recession, he said, if it weren't for Congress. As he put it, a "sizable group of Republican lawmakers" were threatening to not raise the debt ceiling or end the sequester. He continued:
A growing number of Republican Senators are trying to get things done, like an immigration bill that economists say will boost our economy by more than a trillion dollars. But a faction of Republicans in the House won’t even give that bill a vote, and gutted a farm bill that America’s farmers and most vulnerable children depend on.
If you ask some of these Republicans about their economic agenda, or how they’d strengthen the middle class, they’ll shift the topic to “out-of-control” government spending – despite the fact that we have cut the deficit by nearly half as a share of the economy since I took office.
White House aides had told reporters that the speech was not intended to outline new policy proposals, but to set up the debate before he fights Republicans over the debt ceiling and the budget this fall. Hours before Obama gave his speech, Politico's Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen reported how the Obama administration had won over the formerly "grumpy" Sen. John McCain. The new "power triangle," Politico says, is McCain, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, and White House chief of staff Denis McDonough. Politico reports that "This new alliance... is in preliminary conversations to avert a government shutdown over the budget," Politico says. "The real test," McCain says, "will be this fall."
This new alliance appears to be the result of Obama's much-publicized dinner diplomacy kicked off this spring. (McDonough is referred to as someone "who actually cares what senators say and think and do.") On Wednesday, Obama said, "With an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball. And I am here to say this needs to stop." Notably, McCain was at the center of one of those "phony scandals" — Benghazi. It seems he has stopped.