Driving the Week: Defense Policy and Obama’s “To Do” List

Surprise, surpise! It will be yet another hyper-political week in Washington.

While the House tackles the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), they will also take up a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  The Senate is expected to consider the Cantor-Hoyer expansion of the Export-Import Bank (key vote: no) and take up one element of President Obama’s five item “to do” list. 

Simmering just beneath the surface will be rising tensions between House conservatives and House GOP leaders.  Over the weekend, The Hill and Politico reported conservatives lawmakers want to see a more aggressive legislative agenda in the run up to the election.

The Hill cites  the broadly bipartisan – and thoroughly misguided – expansion of the ExIm Bank as one data point of conservative frustration:

The fact that GOP leaders relied on Democratic votes to pass the reauthorization did not go unnoticed by conservative insiders, who contend that such a pattern began following last summer’s deal to increase the debt limit.

Politico quotes Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC), saying:

“…there’s a sense to not ruffle the waters. My response is, ‘You’re asking people to trust you with the gears of government and leadership. If your sole objective is to just hang on, and not do anything with leadership, that’s not a compelling case.’

“So, if we are being drummed out, it’s our fault. Because the majority of the people in our conference describe themselves as conservative. What you’ll see in the next couple weeks, is push back from the conservatives.”

As usual, the behind the scenes manuevers are much more interesting than the on floor discussion. 

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