Boehner forcing Senate Dems out of the shadows

The Hill:
By demanding Senate Democrats act first on major legislation, the House Speaker may help Republicans win back the upper chamber.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is passing the buck to the Senate and, in the process, he's lending a big hand to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.)

Boehner's move to force the Democratic-led Senate to take the lead on enacting President Obama's agenda puts him squarely in line with a top McConnell priority — wresting control of the upper chamber from Democrats.

The Speaker has made it clear that he believes his one-on-one negotiations with Obama over the last two years allowed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and his caucus to escape responsibility for taking politically-tough votes in the last two years, helping Democrats not only keep control of the Senate, but expand their majority in 2012.

As Boehner put it on Thursday, "those days are over."

The House, he indicated, has no intention of acting on the agenda Obama laid out in his State of the Union on Tuesday until Senate Democrats prove they can pass it first. That means no move to hike the minimum wage, no major gun-control legislation, no big climate change bill.

That strategy has some Senate Republicans salivating, hoping they will finally get to see vulnerable Democrats take the politically dangerous votes that Reid protected them from taking in 2011 and 2012.

Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.), a member of the Republican leadership team, said he looked forward to seeing red-state Democrats like Sen. Mark Begich (Alaska), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Mary Landrieu (La.) and others on the ballot in 2014 vote on a budget and gun-control legislation.

“I would welcome an opportunity to have votes on these [issues], as well as climate change,” Barrasso told The Hill, “just to have so many of these Democrat candidates have to choose between the president and their constituents back home whose opinions clearly oppose that of the president.”

...
It is also the end of the backroom deals that have saved them in the past.  McConnell wants to force Reid to have to bring the bills to the floor for a vote.  This is a smart strategy that will expose Democrats' to critism for policies inconsistent with their voters.

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