Posts tagged "Eric Cantor"

h/t: Paige Lavender at HuffPost Politics

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Several dozen frustrated House conservatives are scheming to infiltrate the GOP leadership next year—possibly by forcing Speaker John Boehner to step aside immediately after November’s midterm elections.

The conservatives’ exasperation with leadership is well known. And now, in discreet dinners at the Capitol Hill Club and in winding, hypothetical-laced email chains, they’re trying to figure out what to do about it. Some say it’s enough to coalesce behind—and start whipping votes for—a single conservative leadership candidate. Others want to cut a deal with Majority Leader Eric Cantor: We’ll back you for speaker if you promise to bring aboard a conservative lieutenant.

But there’s a more audacious option on the table, according to conservatives involved in the deliberations. They say between 40 and 50 members have already committed verbally to electing a new speaker. If those numbers hold, organizers say, they could force Boehner to step aside as speaker in late November, when the incoming GOP conference meets for the first time, by showing him that he won’t have the votes to be reelected in January.

The masterminds of this mutiny are trying to stay in the shadows for as long as possible to avoid putting a target on their backs. But one Republican said the “nucleus”of the rebellion can be found inside the House Liberty Caucus, of which he and his comrades are members. This is not surprising, considering that some of the key players in that group—Justin Amash of Michigan, Raúl Labrador of Idaho, and Thomas Massie of Kentucky—were among the 12 Republicans who refused to back Boehner’s reelection in January 2013.

Amash, chairman of the Liberty Caucus, warned at the time that there would be a “larger rebellion” down the road if Boehner’s leadership team did not bring conservatives into the fold. Such an insurrection never materialized, however, as Boehner deftly navigated a series of challenges last year and wound up winning over some of the malcontents.

But conservatives, increasingly irritated with what they see as a cautious approach taken by their leadership, are now adamant that Boehner’s tenure should expire with this Congress.

"There are no big ideas coming out of the conference. Our leadership expects to coast through this election by banking on everyone’s hatred for Obamacare," said one Republican lawmaker who is organizing the rebellion. "There’s nothing big being done. We’re reshuffling chairs on the Titanic."

Boehner isn’t the only target. The conservatives find fault with the entire leadership team. Privately, they define success as vaulting one of their own into any one of the top three leadership spots. But they think they’re less likely to accomplish even that limited goal with a narrow effort focused on knocking out one person or winning a single slot. That’s why this time around, unlike the ham-fisted mutiny of 2013, rebels are broadening their offensive beyond Boehner’s gavel.

Cantor, next in line for speaker and once considered a shoo-in to succeed Boehner, has found himself in conservatives’ crosshairs in recent weeks.

With Boehner out of town in late March, Cantor was charged with pushing a “doc fix” bill across the finish line. When it became apparent the measure might not clear the House floor, Cantor authorized a voice vote, allowing the bill to pass without registered resistance. This maneuver infuriated conservatives, who felt that leadership—Cantor in particular—had cheated them. Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Caroline yelled “Bullshit!” outside the House chamber.

Some conservatives are still seething.

"I’m getting used to being deceived by the Obama administration, but when my own leadership does it, it’s just not acceptable," Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona said last week, after Cantor met with a group of angry Republican Study Committee members.

Cantor told conservatives that a voice vote was “the least-bad option,” given the circumstances. But many Republicans aren’t buying it. Moreover, they said that with Boehner out of town, Cantor had an opportunity to impress them with his management of the conference—and didn’t.

"It’s an issue of trust. If you want to have a majority that is governing, and a majority that is following the leader, the rest of us need to be in a position where we trust our leadership," Labrador said this week, adding, "When you have politicians actually playing tricks on their own party, and their own members of Congress, I think that erodes the trust the American people have in the rest of us."

"I can’t think of a time where I felt my trust had been more violated since I’ve been here—and that’s pretty stiff competition," Mulvaney added.

Cantor’s allies say the whole episode has been overblown. But there’s no question that it has stirred fresh disillusionment within the rank and file. And it’s not just the tea-party members up in arms. One House Republican who is friendly with Cantor, and hardly viewed as a troublemaker, predicted, “If there’s another vote like [that], Eric won’t be speaker. Ever.”

This backlash has emboldened some of leadership’s conservative critics. Now, they say, they might try to force Boehner out and also demand that Cantor bring on a conservative deputy before agreeing to vote for him as speaker.

"Eric would make that deal in a heartbeat," said a Republican lawmaker who supports Cantor but opposes Boehner.

Neither Cantor nor his office would comment on leadership races.

Even if Cantor does ascend to speaker, there could be fireworks further down the leadership ladder. Doubts persist about whether Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, Cantor’s closest friend in Congress, should earn a promotion to majority leader. The Californian is universally well liked, but some colleagues aren’t sold on his performance as whip. And if McCarthy does earn the No. 2 spot, there will almost certainly be a free-for-all to succeed him as whip, imperiling the expected advance of Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam.

Amid all the bold talk about Boehner and Cantor and the other leaders, some conservatives are thinking smaller. There is talk of meeting with leadership officials this fall and making demands about steering committee appointments and chairmanships. The idea would be to redistribute the decision-making and shake up what Rep. Louie Gohmert calls the “centralized, stovepipe dictatorship” that runs the congressional wing of the GOP.

Some members are convinced that Boehner will spare everyone the drama and decide to leave on his own. Sources close to the speaker have begun leaving the exit door ever so slightly open, and rumors of his retirement are now running rampant throughout the conference.

"All of this hinges on whether John is running for reelection," Mulvaney, who refused to vote for Boehner’s reelection in 2013, said of the potential leadership shuffling.

"I’d say about 80 percent of us expect him to step down after the elections," added one House Republican who has known Boehner for many years.

Boehner insists that he’ll seek another term as speaker.

"Speaker Boehner is focused on the American people’s top priority: helping our economy create more private sector jobs," said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. "He has also said—publicly and privately—that he plans to be speaker again in the next Congress."

But conservative plotters promise that, unlike 15 months ago, they’ve got the numbers to prevent that from happening. Even if they can’t recruit an alternative to pit against him, they’ll tell Boehner in the November conference meeting that they plan to vote against him on the House floor in January “until kingdom come,” one GOP lawmaker said.

It’s similar to the strategy conservatives used in 1998 to depose Speaker Newt Gingrich, who gave up his gavel in November once it became apparent that conservatives had the numbers to block his reelection on the floor in January. In this case, Boehner won’t be able to win a majority vote of the House if a large bloc of conservatives sticks together and votes against him. Sooner rather than later, the conservatives predict, the speaker would spare himself that humiliation and step aside.

But as of yet, there is no sign of a serious conservative challenger willing to run for a top leadership job, let alone for Boehner’s.

Organizers are actively recruiting two highly respected conservatives—Jeb Hensarling of Texas and Jim Jordan of Ohio—hoping that one will agree to lead their opposition movement. But both have told colleagues they aren’t interested. And the other frequently discussed scenarios, such as RSC Chairman Steve Scalise running for whip, would hardly qualify as the splash conservatives are determined to make.

The attempted overthrow in 2013 failed in part because conservatives didn’t have an alternative candidate for on-the-fence Republicans to rally around. Now, with each passing day, organizers fear history could repeat itself.

"Somebody has to step forward," said Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, one of 12 Republicans who refused to back Boehner’s reelection in 2013. "This is not something where after the election you can step forward. There’s going to be months and months of [planning] needed."

Allies of the current leadership team dismiss the legitimacy of any challenge to the ruling order, and they predict that any conservative coup—especially one aimed at winning the speakership—will fail. One senior Republican said that there are only “three Republicans capable of winning majority support to become speaker of the House: John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan.”

h/t: Igor Volsky at Think Progress Health

think-progress

buzzfeedpolitics:

Democrats have seized on video of Rep. Chris Van Hollen angrily confronting Republicans on the House floor over changes to the chamber’s rules as proof Republicans purposefully pushed the nation into a government shutdown and crisis over extending the nation’s debt limit.

The Republicans’ decision to alter an obscure procedural rule has enraged Democrats and given them evidence that Republicans have purposefully throw the government into chaos with a shutdown.

Normally, any member of the House can force a vote on legislation which the Senate and House are unable to agree on. Although it is a rarely used mechanism, House Republicans were taking no chances in the days leading up to the shutdown.

Republican leaders were nervous about the possibility that the Senate’s clean spending extension bill would pass the chamber on the strength of Democratic votes — or worse, that it would fail, taking it off the table permanently as a solution.

That concern appears to have driven the decision to change the rules to allow only Majority Leader Eric Cantor to force a vote on the Senate plan.

The House routinely alters its rules for considering legislation. The majority’s control of the Rules Committee makes it possible for them to limit the number and type of amendments that can be considered, the length of debate, and virtually all the other contours of a floor debate.

But the changes to the rules used to block Democrats from forcing a vote on the Senate’s spending plan is not the type of change that is routinely made, and is yet another sign of the Republican leadership’s tenuous control of the chamber.

This Video Of Republicans Tightening Control Of House Is As Unusual As It Seems

WASHINGTON (AP) — It seems like a simple proposition: give employees who work more than 40 hours a week the option of taking paid time off instead of overtime pay.

The choice already exists in the public sector. Federal and state workers can save earned time off and use it weeks or even months later to attend a parent-teacher conference, care for an elderly parent or deal with home repairs.

Republicans in Congress are pushing legislation that would extend that option to the private sector. They say that would bring more flexibility to the workplace and help workers better balance family and career.

The push is part of a broader Republican agenda undertaken by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., to expand the party’s political appeal to working families. The House is expected to vote on the measure this week, but the Democratic-controlled Senate isn’t likely to take it up.

“For some people, time is more valuable than the cash that would be accrued in overtime,” said Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., the bill’s chief sponsor. “Why should public-sector employees be given a benefit and the private sector be left out?”

But the idea Republicans promote as “pro-worker” is vigorously opposed by worker advocacy groups, labor unions and most Democrats. These opponents claim it’s really a backdoor way for businesses to skimp on overtime pay.

Judith Lichtman, senior adviser to the National Partnership for Women and Families, contends the measure would open the door for employers to pressure workers into taking compensatory time off instead of overtime pay.

The program was created in the public sector in 1985 to save federal, state and local governments money, not to give workers greater flexibility, Lichtman said. Many workers in federal and state government are unionized or have civil service protections that give them more leverage in dealing with supervisors, she added. Those safeguards don’t always exist in the private sector, where only about 6.6 percent of employees are union members.

Republicans and business groups have tried to pass the plan in some form since the 1990s.

Democrats say the bill provides no guarantee that workers would be able to take the time off when they want. The bill gives employers discretion over whether to grant a specific request to use comp time. Opponents also complain that banking leave time essentially gives employers an interest-free loan from workers.

h/t: TPM

WASHINGTON — The House Ethics Committee said Wednesday it will continue an investigation of Illinois Republican Rep. Aaron Schock over allegations he solicited donations of more than $5,000 per donor to a super political action committee. The committee also said it’s continuing a probe of whether a trip New York Democrat Bill Owens took to Taiwan was arranged by lobbyists for the country’s government.

Both cases had been referred to the House committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics, a separate, outside ethics office. The House committee announced its decision to continue looking into each case on Wednesday, while releasing OCE’s report on both cases.

In a statement, the ethics committee said that in both cases merely “conducting further review … does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the committee.” The committee also said it would refrain from further comment pending completion of initial reviews.

Both Schock and Owens said they expect to be exonerated by the House committee.

Schock’s case involves an allegation he asked House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., to contribute $25,000 from his leadership PAC to a super PAC that backed Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., in a House primary against Rep. Don Manzullo. Kinzinger won the March 2012 primary. Redistricting following the 2010 census put the two congressmen in the same and the primary.

According to the OCE report, the Super PAC backing Kinzinger, the Campaign for Primary Accountability, received a minimum of $115,000 that came from “efforts of Rep. Schock and his campaign committee.”

Schock told investigators that he never requested the $25,000 from Cantor. According to the OCE report, Cantor told investigators that Schock had asked him if he would give the $25,000 donation to back Kinzinger. Cantor said he then gave money from his committee to the super PAC backing Kinziger in the primary.

The case involving Owens relates to a December 2011 trip he and his wife took to Taiwan. Owens and his wife were invited by the Chinese Culture University of Taiwan. But the trip may have been arranged by lobbyists for the country. Lawmakers are prohibited from taking trips that are paid for by lobbyists.

Owens said he expected the investigation would clear him of wrongdoing.

H/T: Huffington Post

When President Obama won in November the electorate also rendered a verdict on the priorities of the two major political parties. Democrats, most voters believe, are more concerned with the plight of the middle class than Republicans, who ran on a platform of actually lowering income taxes on wealthy Americans.

In the intervening months, Republican operatives have become practitioners of a new kind of alchemy, attempting with little success to convince voters that the right’s long-standing agenda — reduced regulation for big business, lower taxes for the wealthy and big corporations, privatized and diminished social services — is actually an array of policies that coincidentally meets the needs of the middle class.

Enter House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who’s hit upon a new plan. If you can’t turn lead into gold, go out and buy some gold paint.

In a major policy address at the conservative American Enterprise Institute Tuesday, Cantor said Republicans are looking beyond the budget brinksmanship that’s gripped the right for years to a new, more narrowly tailored agenda for the middle class.

“In Washington, over the past few weeks and months, our attention has been on cliffs, debt ceilings and budgets, on deadlines and negotiations,” he said. “All of this is very important, as there is no substitute for getting our fiscal house in order. … But today, I’d like to focus our attention on what lies beyond these fiscal debates.”

Some of the ideas he described were old, some new. Some would genuinely serve the interests of a wider electorate, others would not. But even if Republicans shift their rhetorical focus to less objectionable policies they’re still devoting all of their legislative heft to the same platform and style of governance that cost them the election.

Nevertheless, as Cantor delivered his remarks, GOP leaders simultaneously denounced Obama’s proposal to pay down the sequester’s deep spending cuts with a mix of more gradual cuts and higher taxes on wealthy interests. For them, the sequester — all $1.2 trillion worth — can only be paid down with cuts to other programs. No new revenue, no matter the source, according to influential Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK).

In order then, replacing the sequester with cuts to food stamps and Medicaid would be preferable to letting the sequester take effect, but both would be preferable to any sequester replacement that includes even a thimble full of tax revenue wrung from closing loopholes that benefit powerful interests.

The GOP’s real, immediate priorities are thus no different than they were before the election.

Those priorities didn’t carry the day in November. And in the months since, Republicans, and the conservative movement writ large, have been debating amongst themselves whether their priorities need an overhaul, or whether they just need to shoehorn them into packaging that will appeal to the broad middle class.

h/t: TPM

(via DCCC Hits Cantor Over Violence Against Women Act (VIDEO) | TPM LiveWire)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released a video Tuesday going after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) over reportedly blocking the Violence Against Women Act. 

Cantor on Tuesday is set to deliver a policy address aimed at recasting the Republican Party in the wake of the 2012 election.

“No matter how much the Tea Party House Republicans try to rebrand their party, the fact remains: They are still the party that is blocking funding to prevent domestic violence,” DCCC press secretary Emily Bittner said in a statement. “For years, the Violence Against Women Act enjoyed broad, bipartisan support – until the Tea Party War on Women. American women don’t want to see the clock turned back on their safety or their rights, and no sales job can change the truth, that Tea Party House Republicans will relentlessly pursue their War on Women.”

Progress Illinois is reporting that Republican Congressman Aaron Schock of the 18th Congressional District of Illinois is contemplating a 2014 run for Governor of Illinois.

However, Schock has an “Eric Cantor” problem.

Schock goaded House Majority Leader Eric Cantor into donating $25,000 from Cantor’s own SuperPAC, ERIC PAC, to the Campaign for Primary Accountability, which supported Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger in the 16th Congressional District of Illinois Republican Primary, who narrowly won an incumbent-versus-incumbent primary against Donald Manzullo.

In the last 15 years, two of Illinois’s former governors, George Ryan, a Republican, and Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, have been sentenced to prison after being convicted on corruption charges. Simply put, Illinois does not need yet another unethical governor.

h/t: BlueDownstate

New York Republicans and Democrats are publicly furious with Speaker John Boehner for abruptly cancelling an expected vote late Tuesday night on a relief package for victims of superstorm Sandy.

The Senate recently passed an aid package for Sandy victims worth $60 billion, a price tag that made many House Republicans nervous. So they decided to divide it up into two parts: $27 billion and $33 billion. The first part was vetted by appropriators for wasteful spending but the second wasn’t. And most of the latter chunk would not have been spent in the first year, anyway. So one school of thought was to vote separately on both and let the chips fall where they may.

The likely upshot was that the House would immediately authorize $27 billion for victims and give themselves time to determine, in the next Congress, how much of the rest was necessary. A two-track vote was expected after the bill to avert the fiscal cliff. But it never happened. Why was it pulled?

Wednesday morning on the House floor, New York Republican Reps. Peter King and Michael Grimm blamed Boehner for what they described as a betrayal.

“It was entirely the speaker’s decision,” said a GOP leadership aide, who doesn’t work in Boehner’s office. “As to why we’re not voting on it now? That’s a question I can’t answer.”

At a press conference in New York, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters Wednesday that he’s “distraught” and “angry” over the House’s failure to hold a vote, blaming it on a House GOP “leadership squabble.” He said Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has been “truly helpful” in piecing together the package and blamed Boehner.

“Cantor has been very much for us, but Speaker Boehner … pulled the rug out from under us,” Schumer said. “It’s a Boehner betrayal.”

A Cantor aide affirmed that the majority leader has been pushing for the package.

h/t: TPM

Washington (CNN) – House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Tuesday he opposes the Senate version of the fiscal cliff bill, as the hours wind down for the House to vote on a deal that would avert a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts.

"I do not support the bill," Cantor told reporters while leaving a House GOP meeting.

After the Senate passed the legislation in the early hours of the morning with 89 senators in favor of the deal, the ball is now in the House’s court to act.

Cantor said no decisions have been made on the bill and leaders are looking for the best path forward.

Meanwhile, several members said they were unsure whether the House would vote Tuesday.

h/t: CNN.com

After the failure of his fiscal cliff negotiations with the White House, followed by his humiliating inability to get even his ridiculous “Plan B” proposal approved by House Republicans, John Boehner gave up and punted the whole thing over to the president and the Senate. Why? Matt Yglesias says Boehner likes the idea because the only way to get anything through the Senate is to compromise with Republicans, which will produce a deal to the right of Obama’s current proposal. “Then once something like that difference-splitting bill passes the Senate, Boehner gets to take it up as the new baseline for negotiations and pull the ultimate resolution even further to the right.”

True enough. But I doubt this was Boehner’s intent from the beginning. Remember that during the debt limit talks last year, Boehner initially handed off negotiating duties to Eric Cantor, hoping that if Cantor signed off on a deal it would get the rest of the tea party caucus to throw in their votes as well. But Cantor double-crossed him after a few weeks, pulling out of the talks and pushing them back in Boehner’s lap so that Boehner would have to take the heat for agreeing to any tax increases. But even at that, Boehner didn’t give up: he tried to keep negotiating until it became clear that the Cantorites just flatly wouldn’t approve any feasible deal. Eventually a deal got done after Mitch McConnell got involved.

Yep. However, for PR reasons, Obama has to remain the adult in the room at all times, continuing to negotiate honestly even in the face of seemingly relentless intransigence. No ultimatums, no walking out of talks. But on January 1, taxes on the middle class go up and the economy slowly begins to slide into the great Republican Recession of 2013. That’s the leverage that will finally force GOP leaders to get serious. Obama will never say so publicly, but I imagine he knows this perfectly well.

h/t: Kevin Drum at Mother Jones

So some chick is all “Oh maybe Cathy McMorris-Rodgers will be the new Speaker or something because everything I say is not completely laughable fiction.” And then Laura Ingraham is all “I am doing my best not to smirk at your uninformed drivel, fellow television pundit, but everyone knows that some random male source says that the next Speaker of the House will be Paul Ryan, because stud.” But be careful, GOPpies! You come at King Boehner, you’d best … haha, sorry, we are just kidding. That dude is Dead Drunk Walking. So the winner of yesterday’s brain tickler quiz is everybody who answered “a pile of human shit.” Congratulations, everyone in the world!

Paul Ryan, if he is indeed the next Speaker of the House, will be the worst one this country’s ever had. He is worse than the last three GOP Speakers (Gingrich, Hastert, Boehner) we had combined. I’d rather have Pelosi back as Speaker anyday.

H/T:  Wonkette.com