How to Break the House Impasse

Washington -- To break the current impasse over the debt ceiling and the continuing resolution to fund the government, House Republicans who would vote to end the crisis need to assert themselves. To do this, they should caucus as "Independent Conservatives" whose platform would be to negotiate a grand bargain with President Obama, after the government has been reopened with a bipartisan vote and the full faith and credit of the United States restored.

The President should agree to negotiate with these Independent Conservatives, giving them the first invitation among Republicans to set the agenda for such talks. This would strengthen their hand and provide a way out of the crisis.

The great stateman George Norris of Nebraska led such a group of House Republicans in 1910. Norris and his followers broke the power of Speaker "Boss" Cannon to hold legislation hostage. Latter day Republicans who want to reopen the government are said to fear primary challenges if they don't toe the line of Speaker Boehner. But not only was Norris re-elected after overthrowing Speaker Cannon, he went on to serve in Congress another thirty-three years.

As for primary challenges, such Independent Conservatives should (1) put their country ahead of their own careers and (2) be ready to take yes for an answer if President Obama agrees (as he has before) to put entitlements on the table in the negotiations. They would then have a record of conservative accomplishment to show voters, as opposed to the nihilism that has currently captured the Republican party and threatens America's international credibility.