Tax law reform. Killed.
Labor law reform. Dispatched to die in committee.
Consumer protection agency. Killed.
Hospital cost containment. Gutted.
The crude-oil tax in the energy bill. Stalled.
There is normally a complex of reasons for the failure of a major piece of legislation to emerge from Congress, and sometimes it is simply that there is no clear national consensus behind it. But in these five instances, and others like them, the force that proved decisive in blocking passage this year arose out of a dramatic new development in Washington: the startling increase in the influence...