Skip to comments.Boehner tightens grip on GOP rank and file ahead of deficit talks
Posted on 11/20/2012 8:51:24 AM PST by Qbert
Speaker John Boehner is tightening his grip on the House Republican Conference weeks before an anticipated vote on a deficit deal.
The Ohio Republican has smoothed over differences with Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), expanded his powers on the panel that doles out plum committee assignments, shot down a challenge to his earmark moratorium and worked behind the scenes to ensure that Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) would win her leadership contest.
All of Boehners moves are aimed at shoring up his influence over the GOP conference, which in turn maximizes the Speakers leverage with President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Boehner cant afford to waste any of that leverage, which took a major hit in the elections that delivered Obama a second term and increased the number of Democrats in both the House and Senate. Any bipartisan agreement on taxes and spending reached by the White House and Boehner will test GOP unity a test House Republicans largely failed over the last two years.
Democrats seized on chaos in the House GOP ranks to divide and conquer Republicans at the negotiating table during the payroll tax extension debate earlier this year.
Administration officials and senior Democrats in Congress openly mused about tension between Boehner and Cantor, saying it played to their advantage.
However, the soap opera between Boehner and Cantor and their staffs, which dominated headlines in the summer of 2011 and into early 2012, has faded.
Theres a very strong relationship [building] effort going on there, a GOP lawmaker at the leadership table told The Hill, noting that Cantor last week delivered the speech nominating Boehner to be Speaker while Boehner nominated the Virginia Republican for majority leader.
Both Boehner and Cantor ran unopposed, but the symbol of the nominating speeches to the entire House Republican Conference was important and clearly thought out, the source said.
In 2010, Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) nominated Boehner to be Speaker; Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) nominated Cantor for majority leader.
Lawmakers and others close to Boehner say the Speaker has more sway than he did over House Republicans following the Tea Party wave of 2010. Others maintain the jury is still out.
Yet Boehners internal support was on display when McMorris Rodgers, his favored candidate, captured the No. 4-ranked GOP leadership post.
The battle to be the head of the House GOP conference was a hard-fought one between McMorris Rodgers and former Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (Ga.).
Boehner never officially endorsed McMorris Rodgers, but his support for her was well-known. Price, meanwhile, was backed by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
Boehner was quick to include Ryan, back from the presidential campaign trail, in a small group of key lawmakers advising him of strategies ahead of the fiscal-cliff negotiations with the White House.
The appointment was a shrewd one; if Ryan endorses a fiscal-cliff pact, many conservatives in the House will fall in line.
Camp, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) also sit in on the fiscal-cliff meetings.
Boehner spokesman Kevin Smith told The Hill that House Republicans are the last line of defense against a government that spends, taxes and borrows too much.
Smith added that taking on that responsibility demands that we field the strongest team possible and put members in a position where their talents and expertise can be fully utilized on behalf of the conference and its goals.
Boehner rewards loyalty, and his power on the GOP Steering Committee which selects panel chairmen and other committee slots has been expanded.
Boehner now has five votes on the committee, up from four. Cantor has three and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has two, while everyone else registers one vote.
Boehner last week cut off a challenge to the earmark moratorium that he implemented in the conference years ago. After Boehner made his opposition clear, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) withdrew his amendment before it came to a roll-call vote.
A respected and affable Speaker, Boehner has nonetheless struggled to secure votes on high-profile bills in the 112th Congress.
He has needed Democratic votes to pass bills on averting a government shutdown and raising the debt limit.
Boehner is well-aware that there will be GOP defections on a potential fiscal-cliff deal, though he will seek to rally as much support as he can for whatever agreement is brokered.
In the wake of the GOPs stinging losses in the election, Boehner acknowledged that his party would be willing to accept new revenue code for tax increases if the president were willing to cut spending and reform entitlement programs.
On Monday, Boehner attempted to play offense as his press office circulated an email titled GOP open to revenue via tax reform; now lets talk spending cuts.
He’s tough with the GOP
get out boehner, our the house needs to throw him out.
Cantor, Bonehead and Rogers mentioned in this article are all from states the GOP did not carry.
***All of Boehners moves are aimed at shoring up his influence over the GOP conference, ...***
Boeher now has more influence than before. And this is to be an encouraging development?
Our message to our reps need to be clear. If Boehner folds in this, we are sitting home in 2014. If he doesn’t stand up for the positions we elected our reps to promote, he needs to be replaced as Speaker.
“The Party That Just Doesn’t Get It” strikes again.
"Hes tough with the GOP"
He's like Romney: viciously attack members of your own party when it serves you, and then French kiss your opponents at the most inopportune time.
exactly...we need a real deal leading the war front
Too bad these guys aren't as tough with the 'Rats as they are with people on their own side.
Remember, Boehner didn't fold in the last talks.
In fact, he walked out on Obama when Obama brought up tax hikes.
Obama then tried to call Boehner but the Speaker did NOT take Obama's calls which infuriated Obama.
"Our message to our reps need to be clear. If Boehner folds in this, we are sitting home in 2014."
No. We need to be even better organized to take out every Republican that votes for this in the next primaries. I don't care if they call themselves "Tea Party" members, or not. They need to go.
I just hope the Gestapo Lady doesn't make him cry on national TV again.
The MSM inserts this in just about every story to try to enrage the right.
But closing loopholes has been on the conservative wishlist (simplifying the tax code) for decades.
It rankles that Boehner uses ten times the coercion on Republicans than he would ever use on Democrats.
Votes for what?
No bill has been written yet.