Don’t expect this to happen much this year. (Mandel Ngan/Getty Images)
If there was ever a sound reason for a congressional leader from one party to plant a kiss on the cheek of a leader from the other side, it was in the Rose Garden last week.
Solving a multibillion-dollar problem that bedeviled Congress for a dozen years (inadequate Medicare reimbursements to physicians) is the only genuinely important bipartisan achievement of the 114th Congress to date. When Speaker John A. Boehner smooched a beaming House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at a celebratory reception hosted by President Barack Obama, it was a visual cue about the extraordinary nature of the moment, for which the two frequent partisan antagonists shared principal credit.
Nothing remotely as consequential — or even out of the ordinary by once-customary standards for measuring congressional behavior — has happened this year. That’s worth observing at a time when so many politicians, columnists and political scientists are talking glowingly about the Capitol’s rhythms starting to return to normal.
Such declarations about signs of healthy legislative life this spring are mostly overwrought, somewhat premature and potentially counterproductive. Full story