With the vote for Speaker of the House a few hours away, the liberal Boston Globe has endorsed incumbent Speaker John Boehner for the job – so he continue his purge of Tea Party conservatives from influential positions.
The Globe’s editorial board said Boehner “did the right thing” by violating the “Hastert Rule” and allowing the “fiscal cliff” deal to come to the House floor for a vote on Tuesday evening. Former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert had a “majority of the majority” rule that he wouldn’t bring legislation to the floor without support of a majority of Republicans. When Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was the Speaker, she largely followed the same rule with her Democrats.
The “fiscal cliff” deal brokered between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) did not have a majority of Republicans’ support – 151 voted against it as compared to 85 Republicans, including Boehner himself, voting for it.
“When a big House majority is behind a piece of legislation on an urgent national priority, it should come to a vote,” the Globe’s editorial board wrote. “Holding up an otherwise surefire vote to appease an extreme conservative faction would have been a misuse of the rules. Sadly, such procedural hold-ups are business as usual in Congress these days, but Boehner deserves at least a little recognition for not carrying the practice to suicidal extremes.”
“Alas, his willingness to put country ahead of party may have left him in some jeopardy among his fellow Republicans,” the Globe team added. “Only 84 House Republicans joined Boehner in supporting a bill that extended the Bush tax cuts for more than 98 percent of taxpayers; a far larger number — 151 — voted no. Today, GOP House members will meet to choose their leader for the incoming Congress, and some conservatives are hoping that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who voted against the fiscal-cliff compromise, will challenge Boehner for the speakership.”
The Globe argues that Boehner should be re-elected as Speaker over Cantor because Cantor placed “ideological purity over compromise” and showed “a willingness to use procedural mechanisms to gum up Congress in order to get his way.”
The Globe also advocated Boehner should keep his job so he continue his purge of true conservatives from key committee assignments – like he did to four such members right after the election.
“Americans who want a more cooperative approach should hope that Boehner prevails, and continues his recent efforts to keep Tea Party extremists out of key committee assignments,” the Globe wrote.