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Endgame Begins: Boehner Forced to Rely on Democrats to Keep Speakership

House Speaker John Boehner still won’t be able to win reelection without Democratic votes, Breitbart News has learned, and he has abandoned yet another plan to try to embarrass conservatives seeking his ouster, which he was going to move forward with on Friday.

The day after Pope Francis addressed the Congress for the first time—in front of a teary-eyed Boehner—the Speaker had planned to move forward by bringing forth a resolution to vacate the chair, then holding a vote for his reelection intended to prove he had widespread support in the GOP conference.

But just as when Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) first introduced the measure, Boehner quickly learned again that he does not have enough support in the House GOP conference to win re-election and called off still-preliminary plans to hold the vote on Friday. A senior House GOP aide confirmed to Breitbart News that Boehner considered this strategy again—after it failed before the August recess—and pulled the plug on Thursday when he realized he didn’t have enough support. That doesn’t mean he still won’t go through with something like that, and anything is possible. But for now, Boehner looks as weak as he’s ever been in the speakership chair—and could eventually need to depend on Democrats to win reelection.

Boehner’s spokeswoman Emily Schillinger denied this, telling Breitbart News that’s not true.

“This is ridiculous and your sources are wrong,” Schillinger said in an email.

But Schillinger hasn’t answered whether Boehner will stay as a registered Republican if he needs Democrats to win reelection. Conservatives, who held back on plans to remove Boehner for now to allow the Catholic Speaker of the House to hold his long-awaited meeting with Pope Francis, would likely revolt against Boehner again and gain serious extra support from rank-and-file Republicans conference-wide should he only be able to win reelection with a Democrat bailout.

While Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) told Breitbart News at the most recent GOP debate in Simi Valley, California, that she expects most Democrats to vote against Boehner, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC)—one of the most liberal members of the Democratic conference and third-highest-ranking member of House Democratic leadership—is on record saying he supports Boehner’s continued leadership of the House.

“I’m with Boehner,” Cly­burn, also a prominent member of the Congressional Black Caucus who would likely bring more liberal members from there to help him support Boehner’s reelection, said according to National Journal. “This stuff disrupting the business of the country, I’m not for. He’s the elected speaker; I’m not going to vote to vacate the chair.”

Rep. Raul Gri­jalva (D-AZ), a co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus—an extraordinarily liberal wing of the Democratic conference—said he would “probably” vote to help Boehner out, but his counterpart at the top of the liberal collective, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), said he wouldn’t.

“What has Speak­er Boehner ever done for the Democratic caucus?” El­lis­on said. “What is our reason for standing in the way of [GOP infighting]? … Who could be more difficult to work with? I don’t think there’s a worse alternative.”

Schillinger’s refusal to answer at this time whether Boehner would remain a member of the Republican Party is telling about how difficult a position Boehner is really in. Just a few months ago, back in March 2015 before he went to work for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s campaign, Boehner’s now ex-spokesman Michael Steel told Breitbart News that the Speaker was a proud Republican.

“Speaker Boehner is a proud, conservative Republican, and enjoys the strong support of an overwhelming majority of the House Republican Conference,” Steel said then.

Now, Boehner’s office won’t even reaffirm that sentiment from March.

The latest on this front comes after Boehner, according to Politico, met with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)—the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus—and several top conservatives.

“Boehner huddled Thursday afternoon with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who leads the Freedom Caucus, and Reps. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.), Reid Ribble (R-Wis.). and Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), all members of the conservative group. Upon leaving, none of them would commit to trying to overthrow Boehner,” Politico’s Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer, and John Bresnahan wrote. “But the Freedom Caucus held two private meetings today, according to a source.”

That Politico’s Sherman—a close confidante of Boehner’s to whom his office leaks almost everything—would call Boehner’s “hold on the speakership” something that “has never been more tenuous” is telling how worried Boehner is. Everything around the Speakership vote is tied closely with a busy September and October of legislating.

“And since Congress will likely be unable to defund Planned Parenthood in this round of votes, it’s possible that the House Freedom Caucus — a group of conservatives — will immediately move to overthrow Boehner (R-Ohio) as speaker,” Politico wrote. “Some allies of the speaker expect that to happen as soon as Friday.”

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