Further evidence? In a desperate effort to win over Tea Party Republicans at the last moment, the Speaker added "Plan C" — a plan to avoid mainly defense cuts through sequestration by substituting these cuts with deep and harmful cuts in domestic programs impacting children, seniors and disabled. And, of course, making compromise all the more unlikely by adding provisions aimed at dismantling health care reform and Wall Street reform.
And still, at the end of the day, Republicans walked away from the Speaker. Now he is faced with a fateful choice for his party and for the nation: Are there enough Republicans in the House capable of governing? Are there Republicans capable of reaching across the aisle, across the Capitol and down Pennsylvania Avenue to forge a bipartisan solution that doesn’t satisfy everyone in either party but can pass in the House through a combination of Republican and Democratic votes?
At times like these I think back to when I was on the floor of the State Senate in Michigan with Republican Bill Milliken — whom I would later compete with for the Governorship — and together we worked to round up votes for the minimum wage. Today’s Republican Party is dangerously close to abandoning any ability to work on a bipartisan basis.
At this moment in our nation’s history it is vital that John BoehnerJohn BoehnerHouse GOP faces dilemma on spending bills Overnight Finance: Puerto Rico bill clears panel | IRS chief vows to finish term | Bill would require nominees to release tax returns Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief fears sequestration's return MORE sees himself not as the leader of the Republican Party but the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Our nation faces an especially difficult set of economic and social challenges in the coming years -- some are short-term and others are long-term — and they will impact most facets of our country. I have every confidence that all of our citizens collectively represent the greatness needed to address them.
Levin is the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee.