Exclusive — Boehner Has No Plans To Leave Republican Party Despite Newfound Democratic Party Support

AP Photo/Charles Dharapak
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

Despite the fact that Democrats are rushing to protect him from a potential brewing Republican coup attempt, House Speaker John Boehner—currently a Republican—has no intention of leaving the Republican Party to join his new friends in the Democratic Party, his spokesman Michael Steel tells Breitbart News.

“Speaker Boehner is a proud, conservative Republican, and enjoys the strong support of an overwhelming majority of the House Republican Conference,” Steel said in an email on Friday morning when asked by Breitbart News if the Speaker plans to switch party affiliations, given that several Democrats now say they’ll protect him from a Republican coup.

If Boehner did eventually leave the GOP, he’d be the highest-profile Republican in recent years to do so. Others who have switched to the Democratic Party after abandoning GOP principles as laid out in the party platform include the late Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

Talk of a coup has blossomed in recent days after Boehner used Democrat votes—and lost a majority, 167 in total, of the Republican conference—to pass a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill that provides taxpayer dollars to President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty.

A new report on Friday from The Hill quotes several Democrats, including some very liberal members, saying they’d vote for Boehner for Speaker to protect him from a Republican affront.

“Tea Party Republicans contemplating a bid to oust Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) shouldn’t count on Democrats to help them unseat the Speaker,” The Hill’s Mike Lillis wrote.

And without their support, there is no chance to topple Boehner in this Congress. A number of right-wing Republicans, long-wary of Boehner’s commitment to GOP efforts attacking President Obama’s policy priorities, have openly considered a coup in an attempt to transfer the gavel into more conservative hands. But Democrats from across an ideological spectrum say they’d rather see Boehner remain atop the House than replace him with a more conservative Speaker who would almost certainly be less willing to reach across the aisle in search of compromise. Replacing him with a Tea Party Speaker, they say, would only bring the legislative process — already limping along — to a screeching halt.

Lillis quotes Democratic Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)—both liberal members of Nancy Pelosi’s conference—saying they’d back up Boehner in the face of a GOP coup.

“I’d probably vote for Boehner [because] who the hell is going to replace him? [Ted] Yoho?,” Pascrell said, adding: “In terms of the institution, I would rather have John Boehner as the Speaker than some of these characters who came here thinking that they’re going to change the world.”

“Then we would get [Majority Whip Steve] Scalise or somebody? Geez, come on,” Grijalva said. “We can be suicidal, but not stupid.”

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said, according to Lillis’ piece, that there are “some disgruntled people who are talking about” a coup against Boehner but if House Freedom Caucus leader Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) doesn’t lead the coup it won’t happen.

“If Jordan’s not talking about — he’s the head of the Freedom Caucus — it’s not going to happen,” Hoyer said.

Congressional Black Caucus chairman Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) said the Republicans should be able to figure out who their own speaker should be.

“If they’ve got the votes to make it [a coup against Boehner] happen, then they should act accordingly. But I would not want Democrats to be a part of that,” Butterfield said. “I would give deference to the choice of the Republicans.”

Some other Democrats were unclear on how to move forward.

“I think it would pose a real existential dilemma for us,” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) said. “I mean, on the one hand, if you have a chance to take out a Republican Speaker, why wouldn’t you do that? On the other hand, if the obvious alternative is a Tea Party Speaker, now you’ve got to worry not only about your own political situation but frankly about the institution.”

Connolly added that having a conservative Republican speaker is something that would “give very serious pause to the Democrats.”

Liberal Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) said he’s siding with Boehner because Boehner will move big bipartisan big government bills through the House.

“Personally, I don’t want to waste two years,” McGovern said. “And I think that the crazy Tea Party type would probably not be willing to work with us on anything.”

McGovern added that he hopes Boehner learns his lesson about the majority of Republicans after this.

“My hope is that what comes out of this is that Boehner realizes that there are some people in his caucus who are unreasonable, and you can never get them to say ‘yes’ to anything,” McGovern said. “Rather than spending so much time agonizing over how to please them, maybe he just ought to focus on how you build more bipartisan coalitions and actually get some things done.”


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