Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Boehner Floats Rumor That If House Republicans Don't Kick Him Out, He Won't Run For Speaker Again


The Walking Dead

Politico writers Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan were speculating that if the Republicans win a majority in the House again-- and with Steve Israel and the other lunkheads who run the DCCC, there's no chance they won't-- Boehner won't run for Speaker again, if the House Republicans don't kick him out of the job before that. Presumably, he'd retire from Congress. They claim they're getting inside info right from Boehnerland, although they quote idiots allied with Boehner like Colbert's old pal Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA): "That’s a personal decision he has to make. I don’t know why he would want to, personally."
Talk of Boehner's possible demise is as old as his speakership, of course. The mild-tempered Ohio Republican has experienced wild swings in his political fortunes, going from hero to Republican-in-name-only in a matter of days. Earlier this year, roughly two dozen Republican lawmakers voted against his bid for a third term as speaker. Each time, Boehner has survived and returned to health.

But consider what he faces this fall: a quixotic but determined fight to defund Planned Parenthood, a potential government shutdown, a deadline to raise the federal debt ceiling or risk default, and a contentious showdown over highway spending. Boehner's aides say they expect a vote to oust him, formally known as a motion to vacate the chair.

Boehner allies privately acknowledge the daunting challenge. "Who knows?" one ally said when asked if Boehner could beat back a coup attempt. "I don't know. I don’t know how you change this dynamic."

Publicly, Boehner is projecting confidence and going about his business. His top advisers say that he sees the effort to push him out as a stunt unworthy of his attention. When his allies urged him to allow a vote on the motion to vacate in July-- defeating it would be a show of strength, they argued-- he rebuffed their advice. If it comes up again, his top aides say they are sure leadership would beat back the effort on the floor.

Set aside the constant threat of rebellion, Boehner insiders argue, and you have one of the most productive sessions of Congress in a long time. The speaker negotiated a permanent change to how doctors are reimbursed under Medicare, which they say will save more than $200 billion without raising taxes. He shepherded through the House the biggest free trade agreement in decades. And, Boehner's friends point out, the Select Committee on Benghazi that he created exposed Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server-- a controversy that's dogged the Democratic front-runner for months and shows no signs of going away in 2016.

...[A]ccomplishments have done nothing to placate the conservative wing. And senior GOP leadership aides are taking seriously the latest threat to toss Boehner from the top job. Boehner’s chief of staff, Mike Sommers, met this summer with a top aide to North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who drafted the resolution to overthrow the speaker and indicated at a town hall meeting late last month that he's not backing down... Top lawmakers and aides in leadership expect Meadows or another Boehner antagonist to try and force a vote before the end of the year on whether to keep Boehner as speaker.

Boehner is nearly certain to lose the support of the 25 lawmakers who voted against him last time, plus a few more who've grown frustrated with him. But Democrats would also get a say, and should they vote to keep Boehner as speaker-- opposing him would invite chaos, and it's anyone's guess who they'd have to deal with as his replacement-- Boehner would likely retain the gavel until January 2017, unless he decided to call it quits sooner. Meadows did not force a vote in July, but GOP leadership assumes someone will this fall.

The first pressure point is coming soon. Government funding runs dry at the end of September, and conservatives are threatening to oppose any budget bill that continues to fund Planned Parenthood. That is the leading priority of the House Freedom Caucus, the group of 30 or so conservatives that tries to drag leadership to the right.

GOP leaders privately call the demand to quash Planned Parenthood funding a pipe dream, since President Barack Obama would never go along. Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who like Boehner is intent on avoiding a shutdown, said defunding the organization would have to wait until there’s a new president.

But House leadership, cognizant of the potential political fallout for the speaker, is split over how to handle the situation.

Some aides say Boehner should offer a separate bill to deny the family planning organization money, rather than try to do so through the overall budget. That would allow Republicans to have their say without wasting precious time on a futile effort that would tempt a shutdown, they argue.

But others say Boehner, as a show of good faith to conservatives, should at least wage the fight. They want him to propose a broader spending bill without money for Planned Parenthood, watch it stall in the Senate as it probably would-- then go to Plan B.

Either way, though, Planned Parenthood is almost sure to get its money-- and Boehner will be in the cross hairs.

...Some Boehner insiders argue privately that the speaker should announce that this will be his last term as leader, as a way to engender some goodwill and head off any imminent move against him. Others counter that would immediately make Boehner a lame duck and harm his No. 2 and potential successor, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, because agitators would have time to organize against the California Republican.

“Look, no question they’re looking at a challenging fall,” said David Schnittger, a top aide to Boehner for 21 years who now works at Squire Patton Boggs. “By the same token, these guys aren’t strangers to challenging situations. What lies ahead looks challenging, but it also looks kind of familiar. Boehner’s in the second half of his fifth year as speaker. Having been there for four of those five years, it seemed like every few months there was a new ‘test.’”
What makes this battle different from the previous battles Boehner has had with right-wing extremists and libertarians in his caucus is that several of the presidential contenders are beating up on him (and McConnell) and blaming him for the failure to deliver a unicorn to every Republican household. And it isn't just the Texas senator Boehner referred to as a "jackass." Boehner has denigrated Trump several times and Trump doesn't take insults lightly, especially not from Jeb supporters like Boehner. Boehner and McConnell are the easy scapegoats for all the Republican Party failures to deliver on the long list of promises they never thought they could or even intended on delivering.

More and more GOP congressmen are worried that the rubes who vote for them are picking up on the scam. They'd much rather blame Boehner and his leadership team than accept any responsibility themselves.
“If they haven’t gotten the message that they need to change the direction of our leadership, it could be a very ugly fall for our party,” said Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.). “The people who are for Donald Trump are against John Boehner, and John needs to accept that and figure out what to do about it.”

That sentiment could make for a messy fall on Capitol Hill. Conservatives in recent weeks have made their demands of Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): Oppose the Iran deal by any means necessary. Don’t capitulate to Democratic demands to boost federal spending. And, above all, don’t fund Planned Parenthood past the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year.

“If we can’t get that done, oh my goodness,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus. “We need to do what we said we were going to do.”

The prospect of mounting an open challenge to Boehner, who repeatedly swatted away conservative revolts during his nearly five years as speaker, was hotly debated within the confines of the Freedom Caucus, the hard-line rump of the House GOP.

Few thought anything was to be gained by moving to oust Boehner ahead of the summer recess. When Meadows filed his motion July 28, the day before the House left Washington for its six-week summer recess, he drew a withering reaction.

Jordan, who has tried to avoid open warfare between the Freedom Caucus and GOP leadership, has been reticent to discuss Meadows’s bid to unseat Boehner. “It is what it is,” he said.

But many, including Mulvaney, now refer to the Meadows motion as a “sword of Damocles” hanging over Boehner. They are insisting that he pursue a harder line against Democrats in the coming months, even if means shutting down the government. Both the speaker and McConnell insist there will be no government shutdown. Under House rules, the motion could be brought quickly to a vote at virtually any time.

Labels: , , , ,


At 6:43 PM, Blogger ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Heh. "The House Freedom Caucus."

Orwell would have been so proud. I like the Judas Priest, but I'd go with this.


Post a Comment

<< Home