House Speaker John Boehner is seriously considering breaking promises he made to his caucus in securing his re-election as speaker in order to ram through an immigration reform package, Politico reports.
“The GOP is also mulling skipping the committee process and instead having lengthy discussions among Republicans to work out the legislation’s kinks,” Politico’s Jake Sherman wrote on Monday. “This would allow leading conservatives who are crafting the deal with Democrats to explain the policy. That seems to be the preferred path, according to conversations with several GOP aides.”
Sherman is one of the preferred reporters House Republican leadership runs to with stories, and he usually prints the narrative they want him to print, so it’s entirely likely that people in Speaker Boehner’s and other leadership members’ offices are telling him directly that Boehner is considering going around the regular order of the House.
But the move could prove to be fatal for Boehner.
As conservative dissatisfaction with Boehner heightened after the November elections, but before Boehner’s re-election as Speaker at the beginning of this Congress in the first week of January, several members banded together with a plan to try to oust Boehner.
At first, there were more than enough conservative members to oust Boehner, but the Speaker then made several promises and handed out coveted subcommittee chairmanships and other prizes to get conservatives back on his team.
One such promise from Boehner was that he would return the House to its 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 said right before his re-election.
Boehner made the exact same promise in October 2010 before he assumed the Speakership as a result of the Tea Party movement helping Republicans take back the House. In an interview with National Journal, then Minority Leader John Boehner said he would return the House to the regular order.
Boehner broke that promise in the last Congress, and if he breaks the renewed promise again this term, especially on something as hot-button as immigration reform, there could be more chaotic revolt in the House.
Just because he got re-elected in January does not mean Boehner is in the clear for the rest of this Congress. Small coalitions of conservative members can upset the apple cart often enough, and technically a group could call another election whenever they want if Boehner crosses them the wrong way.