During both 2011 and 2012, the Speaker spent weeks shuttling between the Capitol and the White House for meetings with the president in the hopes of striking a grand bargain on the deficit.
Those efforts ended in failure, leaving Boehner feeling burned by Obama and, at times, isolated within his conference.
In closed-door meetings since leaving the “fiscal cliff” talks two weeks ago, lawmakers and aides say the Speaker has indicated he is abandoning that approach for good and will return fully to the normal legislative process in 2013 — seeking to pass bills through the House that can then be adopted, amended or reconciled by the Senate.
“He is recommitting himself and the House to what we’ve done, which is working through regular order and letting the House work its will,” an aide to the Speaker told The Hill.
The negotiations approach has obviously become a trap. For one thing, Boehner has proven to be not very good at it. The president “negotiates” in bad faith and uses deadline pressure to slip bad bills through before legislators and the voters have any chance to read them. The next big fight, over the debt ceiling in February, could have been expected to have gone down like the last one, if Boehner stuck to negotiating directly with the president.
Plus, while Boehner will be re-elected Speaker of the House, he will come into the new Congress damaged: He lost the Plan B vote and there will be fewer Republicans in the House. Restoring the legislative process could end up restoring the House’s ability to fight its constant battles with the Democrats who pincer it from the White House and the Senate.