Posts tagged "US House Of Representatives"

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.”

With Mike Rogers retiring, this seat [MI-08] goes to tossup. 

h/t: Matt-Lee Ashley at Climate Progress

President Barack Obama has ordered a review of our nation’s deportation practices to make our methods more humane. I believe the President’s right in making those moves. 

H/T: ABCNews.com

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

liberalsarecool:

The crucial point about this outcome,… is that it will be the direct result of the decision by Dems — in the last two debt limit fights — to refuse to negotiate with Republicans.

Greg Sargent

The end of days for the Tea Party influence:

“The era of economic hostage taking and ransom demands should finally be behind us,” Senator Patty Murray told me today. “House GOP leaders have finally bowed to the reality that they need to put uncertainty and drama behind them and put the economy ahead of their party’s political tactics.” Also, as Jonathan Bernstein notes, this reflects a GOP recognition that the Tea Party must be marginalized, not placated.

h/t: TPM-

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Only 20-some months after Latino voters helped propel President Obama back to the White House, Republican leaders will likely bring immigration reform proposals to a vote in the House this summer. Why wait? First, they have to get past the threat posed by their congressional primaries.

This is a pretty remarkable commentary on the imbalance within the party. The Republicans’ very vocal, very energized far-right conservatives strongly oppose any measures meant to relax rules around immigration. The party’s quieter, more moderate majority is less fervent; in most cases, the party’s establishment recognizes the need to reach out to the Latino voting bloc. During the August recess last year, Tea Party activists pledged to protest loudly against any sort of immigration reform. And none happened, with House Speaker John Boehner repeatedly rejecting a Senate bill passed earlier in the year.

So here’s the plan for 2014, according to the Wall Street Journal:

House leaders hope to bring legislation to the floor as early as April, the people close to the process said, after the deadline has passed in many states for challengers to file paperwork needed to run for Congress. Republican leaders hope that would diminish chances that a lawmaker’s support for immigration bills winds up sparking a primary-election fight.

Emphasis added. Of course, the Journal may have helped tip the incumbents’ hand on the issue; if you’re a single-cause conservative, no reason not to file a primary challenge if you’re worried about this plan coming to fruition. Earlier this month, the White House predicted that this would be the GOP’s political play. Now the GOP apparently confirms it.

The details of the proposal are incredibly important and, as yet, unsettled. What comes out of the House will likely include increased border security provisions and some pathway to legal status for the 11.5 million people who are here without documentation. Republicans “will also offer citizenship for people brought to the U.S. as children, new enforcement provisions and fixes to the legal immigration system,” sources told the Journal.

What’s remarkable about the plan is its overt attempt to work around that vocal minority. There’s been a power split between the party’s right and far-right wings since 2010, when Tea Party candidates started beating establishment candidates in primaries — and then, often, losing in the general. The power of the Tea Party is electoral power, as much as anything. Get past that speed bump, keep things smooth until the primary issue is resolved, and the establishment regains control of the wheel. Why confront the insurgency when it has an expiration date for effectiveness?

To be fair, the GOP has threatened to pass immigration reform previously without anything coming to fruition. We’ll see what happens once the primaries are somewhat settled. But the GOP may have hit on a solution that will get them past a longstanding roadblock — just in time for a 2016 primary season that could see the party’s split at its worst.

(via reagan-was-a-horrible-president)

healthnewstop:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican U.S. Representative Trey Radel, who was charged in November with buying cocaine, plans to resign from Congress on Monday, his office said. Radel, 37, elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 backed by the conservative Tea Party…
Source:Florida congressman Radel to resign after cocaine charge

h/t: Laura Bassett at HuffPost Politics

h/t: Josh Israel at Think Progress

h/t: Talking Points Memo

h/t: Sahil Kapur at TPM

On his radio broadcast today, Bryan Fischer agreed with a caller who demanded that Republicans in the House of Representatives “take a stand” and impeach President Obama even if he won’t be convicted and removed by the Senate.

Fischer readily agreed, saying that even though there is no chance that Obama would actually be removed from office, House Republicans ought to go ahead and impeach him any way … for educational purposes.

"There could be a powerful educational benefit from the House filing articles of impeachment," Fischer said, because “it would give the House the opportunity to make their case why this man needs to be removed from office … And so they’re be tremendous educational value in that; it may not go anywhere in the Senate … but it may be time to recognize there’s an educational benefit here.”

From the 12.06.2013 edition of AFR’s Focal Point:

h/t: Kyle Mantyla at RWW