How Moderate Republicans Can Foil the Tea Party

Democrats in the House of Representatives seem to have fallen in love with the discharge petition this year. 
Photographer: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats seem to have fallen in love with the discharge petition this year. A rarely used -- and almost never successful -- procedural gambit, the discharge petition allows a bill to move out of committee and onto the floor if it is signed by a majority of House members. Conventional wisdom holds that Democrats are using discharge petitions to score political points in an election year, which is true. But by doing so, Democrats are also creating an opening for Republican centrists to make themselves more relevant -- and Congress more functional.

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