This was suppose to be the year that House Republicans under Speaker Ryan would finally follow up their tax cuts with massive spending cuts for social programs, but it increasingly appears that's not going to happen.
There are many reasons why it probably won't, including the fact that Republicans lost a crucial seat in the Senate where they hold a razor-thin majority, but another factor is Republican extremism.
More specifically, Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and his attack dog Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) say they would rather pass a one-year extension of the status quo than pass a long-term extension that doesn't radically cut the programs.
“They better not do a long-term reauthorization,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told HuffPost on Tuesday. “Only way I’d be for a long-term reauthorization is if we actually addressed the food stamp issue and do welfare reform.” [...]
“In lieu of doing what we need to do,” Jordan continued, a one-year extension of existing programs would be “much better.”
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told HuffPost that “any momentum for a new bill is weak,” also suggesting that a short-term extension of nutrition and farm programs might be the way to go.
In other words, they would rather do nothing than fall slightly short of their long-term goal to kill or starve people.
There's a saying that you shouldn't let the perfect become the enemy of the good, but in this case I suppose the saying would be you shouldn't let the worst become the enemy of the bad.
This is, after all, why the federal government is still effectively funded at levels broadly agreed to during the Obama administration. It's why the government has been funded by continuing resolutions for half a decade. The Republican party is filled with extremists who would rather throw a temper tantrum than accept even a minimal amount of progress toward their stated goals.
Perhaps we should thank them because they could probably achieve more of their goals if they were actually willing to negotiate in good faith, but they wouldn't know good faith if it dunked them in holy water.