Eleventh Hour: Speaker Boehner Moves to the Right
The Speaker of the House will be elected today and some conservatives believe they have the votes necessary to oust John Boehner. In an appearance on CNBC, American Majority Action spokesman Ron Meyer said there are more than 20 House Republicans willing to vote for someone other than Boehner on Thursday when the 113th Congress convenes to elect a Speaker. Another source from a different organization has similarly confirmed that more than 20 have planned to oppose Boehner.
Meyer and AMA correctly predicted Republican opposition to Boehner’s fiscal cliff “Plan B" and the overwhelming House Republican opposition to Vice President Joe Biden’s and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s fiscal cliff deal that passed the House on Tuesday evening.
Outgoing Louisiana Republican Rep. Jeff Landry made a similar prediction earlier in the evening, telling Breitbart News that between the required minimum 17 members and 20 were on board at that point.
Despite rumors that he might do so, Boehner did not resign at a Republican conference meeting Wednesday night.
The reason why some, including Landry, thought Boehner would resign Wednesday is because that group of members supposedly approached Boehner and offered him a way to avoid the public fight that will likely take place on Thursday. An emergency Republican conference meeting was called on Wednesday evening and Boehner’s decision not to resign sent a message to those who want to unseat him that he believes he will survive tomorrow's vote.
Freshman Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas is on the record publicly stating he’ll oppose Boehner on Thursday, but the members also need a leader to rally around. Though there has been speculation that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor may emerge, his spokesperson would not respond to Breitbart News’ inquiries about whether he would. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy also would not go on the record as supportive of Boehner.
But, as Breitbart News reported weeks ago, the document containing the conservative plan to unseat Boehner notes that those members involved expect a new leader to emerge if Boehner were to lose a first election for Speaker (there are potentially multiple votes).
Meyer said in a statement Wednesday evening that his sources are "very Conservative members” and that they "remain optimistic that Speaker Boehner will lose his job tomorrow.” He also noted that sources behind the rumor that Boehner would resign Wednesday night were "different sources than the ones that helped AMA correctly predict the exact vote counts for Plan B and the Biden-McConnell bill.”
Boehner has made concessions to the conservatives seeking his ouster – a sign he's worried about his job. He caved on the Hurricane Sandy package after originally killing Cantor’s efforts to bring the bill to a vote after the “fiscal cliff” package Tuesday evening. After outrage from Reps. Peter King and Michael Grimm from New York, Boehner now will allow a vote on a Sandy package on Friday.
Boehner also, through a spokesman, renewed an old promise he made – but broke. Boehner said he won’t negotiate with the president on his own anymore, and will let the House follow the regular order. "He is recommitting himself and the House to what we've done, which is working through regular order and letting the House work its will,” a Boehner aide told The Hill.
Boehner made a similar promise during an interview with National Journal’s Major Garrett in October 2010, before the Tea Party wave swept Republicans into the House majority – and Boehner into the Speaker’s office. Boehner promised to follow the three-day rule – meaning legislation wouldn’t come to the floor until it was available for three days for members and the public to read – a promise he broke yet again with the “fiscal cliff” deal.
The Budget Control Act of 2011 – the legislation that carved the so-called “fiscal cliff” into law – was negotiated behind-closed-doors between the president and the Speaker. Boehner has also conducted negotiations on each Continuing Resolution (CR) – the legislation that funds the government in absence of a budget – directly with the White House.
We were each elected to uphold the Constitution and represent 600,000-odd people in our districts. We need to open this place up, let some air in. We have nothing to fear from letting the House work its will–nothing to fear from the battle of ideas. That starts with the committees. The result will be more scrutiny and better legislation.”
But now that he’s in trouble, he’s making the same promises again.
Stockman, for one, is not opposing Boehner because he doesn't like the Speaker as a person, but because he believe he’s failed the conservative cause. “We cannot tolerate betrayal of conservative principle and economic reality,” the Texas Congressman wrote in blog post according to the Dallas Morning News, adding that Boehner is a “decent man” who didn’t get the job done.
Landry made a similar argument in an op-ed for Breitbart News on Wednesday. “Thanks to the leadership of Speaker John Boehner, the House passed a bill which raises taxes by $620 billion while cutting spending by a mere $15 billion over 10 years,” Landry wrote. “Usually, a compromise is an even trade (one-for-one). In this trade, House and Senate Republicans traded $41 dollars in tax hikes for every $1 dollar in spending cuts—not exactly a balanced approach.”