Friday, December 9, 2016

Boehner

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boehner

Speaker John Boehner announced his resignation as Speaker of the House on Friday.

“Last night I started thinking about this and this morning I woke up and I said my prayers — as I always do — and I decided today’s the day I’m going to do this. As simple as that,” said Boehner, at a hastily-arranged Capitol Hill press conference.

Boehner will step down as Speaker and leave Congress altogether at the end of October.

Boehner rode into power on the 2010 Tea Party wave–but it was dealing with the newly-elected conservatives that proved to be his biggest challenge. On a number of fiscal policy, he’s depended on Democrats to help make a majority–leaving many conservative members of Congress frustrated and on the outs.

But, with Boehner out, rumors are already circulating as to who will replace him as Speaker.

The most likely candidate is Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, who serves as Senate Majority Leader–Boehner’s second-in-command.

Even though McCarthy has been loyal to Boehner, he’s built some close personal relationships with conservatives–meaning that he might be a candidate that’s palatable to everyone and, as Speaker, be in a better position to get things done than Boehner was.

There’s also Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee–and is known as being a hardline conservative, who often sparred with Boehner.

Another option would be Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington–who, if elected, would be the second female Speaker of the House, after Nancy Pelosi.

One high-profile Republican member of Congress–Paul Ryan–has already said that he wouldn’t run for the job. Ryan, who was Mitt Romney’s Vice President pick in 2012, has credibility in both the conservative and moderate wings of the Republican Party–which would have helped him avoid the pitfalls that ultimately sunk Boehner.

Regardless of who replaces Boehner, it’s clear that the next Speaker of the House has their work cut out for them.

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boehner-spending

House Speaker John Boehner has announced a “fix” to Medicare–which comes at a whopping $400 billion in new spending over the next twenty years.

Boehner plans to introduce legislation that would hike Medicare’s “Sustainable Growth Rate,” the formula that dictates how the federal government reimburses doctors who serve Medicare patients.

Outside conservative groups, like Heritage Action, are fuming–and planning to fight this bill, before it becomes law. And Boehner’s Republican colleagues in Congress aren’t too happy about it either.

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas), for example, joked that Boehner and House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, actually share a “joint speakership” after the number of one-sided “compromises” that Boehner has given to Pelosi recently.

He goes on to argue that new spending–at a time of record deficits–makes Republicans into hypocrites:

“Talking to some if my fellow conservatives, I said, ‘How do we tell Democrats we’re serious about cutting spending when our spending will bulk up? My worry is that… we’re going to break open the budget caps. That’s what we’re doing.”

Boehner sees this fight differently–as a chance to make real change to Medicare, without partisan politics.

“There was an opportunity to work in a bipartisan way to find the appropriate spending offsets,” Boehner said. “The door opened and I decided to walk in.”

It remains to be seen whether Boehner can get enough Republicans on his side to pass the new Medicare spending, or whether conservatives will stop his plans in their tracks.

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boehner-pelosi

House Speaker John Boehner has long been under attack by conservative members of his own party. Now, he’s finding key allies in Democratic leaders.

While it’s rare for the minority party to play a role in who becomes Speaker of the House–they usually vote for the House Minority Leader in a symbolic throwaway vote–Democrats are now planning to go the distance to save Boehner’s job.

Why? Because the Democrats know that Boehner will keep bending over backwards to block conservatives and help enact the Left’s agenda in Congress, under the veil of “compromise.”

“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,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.)

Far-Left Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) echoes that statement: “We can be suicidal but not stupid” when it comes to voting for Boehner to block a more conservative candidate.

And Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) adds, explaining he’d love to vote for Boehner “if the obvious alternative is a Tea Party Speaker.”

Because Republicans have so many seats in the House, they can essentially elect whoever they want as Speaker–if they can get a majority of their party on their side. But conservatives don’t have the numbers to overcome an unholy union between establishment Republicans and Democrats if they’re backing Boehner.

Clearly, Boehner knows that his job as Speaker is under threat. And Democrats have realized that too.

By having a Republican Speaker who’s literally beholden to Democrats for helping him keep his job, America can expect more one-sided “compromises” from John Boehner–just like he did when he quietly allowed Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty order to stand last week. And that’s a raw deal for the overwhelming majority of voters who sent a clear message of change last November.

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Boehner-and-Obama

House Speaker John Boehner just threw in the towel on amnesty.

On Tuesday, in a 257-167 vote, the House of Representatives passed a controversial “clean” funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security, agreeing to continue to fund DHS through the end of the fiscal year without overturning Obama’s amnesty policies–losing what has been, in recent weeks, a key bargaining chip.

Boehner blamed the controversial law passing the House squarely on Republicans in the Senate–who “never found a way to win this fight” on the floor of the Senate–and on House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, who could have forced a vote on this bill after a Senate filibuster, due to a little-known House rule.

But while Boehner stressed that he was “outraged and frustrated. . . at the lawless and unconstitutional actions of this president,” he also admitted that passing a clean bill was “the right [decision] for our country.”

By failing to defund Obama’s amnesty policies, last year’s controversial executive order will continue to give unprecedented legalization to as many as 5 million illegal aliens–and open the door for increased illegal immigration as well.

With Congress refusing to take a firm stance against amnesty, the decision will ultimately be decided by federal courts. A Texas federal court, last month, ruled that Obama’s executive order was unconstitutional–but, with that ruling appealed, the fight over amnesty remains far from over.

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obama-boehner

Sensing victory on Executive Amnesty funding as part of a larger funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by Congress, President Barack Obama met left the White House to give a speech in Florida where 23 percent of the population are of Hispanic descent – another demonstration of divisive identity politics that has served Obama well during his presidency.

With Congress in Republican hands, Senate leaders are trying to meet a Friday deadline to fund DHS and avoid a shutdown that the mainstream media will report as GOP recklessness at a time when the threat of terrorism looms.

The hold-up can be traced to language in the current bill that would fund President Obama’s Executive Amnesty for upwards of 5.5 million illegal immigrants.

The amnesty, which is on hold due to a federal district court injunction against it in Texas, would free the administration to issue illegal aliens work permits, social security cards, driver’s licenses, free healthcare, free public education, tax refunds in excess of $24,000 and even the ability to vote.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been looking for a way to balance the concerns of immigration hardliners like Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions and moderates like New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte who is running for re-election next year.

One option is a short-term funding bill to allow more time for negotiation. Another option is to fund DHS through the end of the fiscal year on September 30 and then take up separate legislation to defund Executive Amnesty – a bill President Obama would most likely veto – and Congress would not override – if it makes its way to his desk.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, said he would not allow an up or down vote on the DHS funding bill without a guarantee that the House would pass it as well – a stunning display of Reid’s ability to exact concessions from weak-kneed Republicans running Congress.

For House Speaker John Boehner, any hint that he plans to cave to the White House on Executive Amnesty could further erode his leadership in the chamber among conservatives who are committed to thwarting Obama’s amnesty play. It is widely believed that Boehner will opt for short-term funding measures for DHS to keep pressure on the White House.

One senior House Republican close to party leaders willing to speak on background to discuss the Senate “two-bill” strategy called the plan “a joke.”

Right now, Republicans have some leverage with Democrats and President Obama on DHS funding. If Republicans pass a bill that funds DHS and includes money for Executive Amnesty, the Republican majority will have zero advantage to force the president’s hand on legislation to repeal.

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John Boehner Revenge

Described as the biggest revolt against a sitting Speaker of the House in more than 100 years, 25 House Republicans voted against House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio as the Republican Party leader in the 114th Congress.

The election was not without mystery, mischief and reason following the swearing in of the 114th Congress on January 6. In a behind the scenes drama that played out on Tuesday, Boehner opponents attempted to get to the magic number of 26 votes to deny the Speaker’s re-election on the first vote.

Writing in The Daily Caller, Alex Pappas reports:

“Prior to the vote, at least 15 disaffected conservative House Republicans publicly said they would oppose Boehner. Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert and Florida Rep. Ted Yoho both offered themselves as alternative candidates for speaker, hoping to draw votes away from Boehner. Florida Rep. Daniel Webster was also nominated before the vote, garnering a surprising 12 votes.”

The struggle for a no-confidence vote was heightened by a flood of phone calls that lit up and overwhelmed the capitol switchboard – calls from voters demanding that Republicans in the House – particularly those new members elected last November – support a speaker candidate other than Boehner.

Callers to the The Shawn Hannity Show clouded the spontaneous grassroots reaction in mystery. Callers reported reaching their republican representatives only to be told that Boehner was the only candidate for speaker (not true) or that the rules of the previous Congress locked in Boehner as Speaker prior to their taking office (also untrue).

The fresh effort to oust the sitting speaker was sparked in part by Speaker Boehner’s inexplicable but successful effort to push through the $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year in September.

This was a deal he cut with then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama in the lame-duck session of the 103rd Congress.

The deal effectively robbed the new Republican run 114th Congress of the leverage it would have needed to defund ObamaCare, stop Illegal Immigrant Amnesty and repeal other “pen and phone” initiatives undertaken by the President in the closing months of 2014.

In the end, Boehner won the Speakership by a razor thin majority of 216 votes out of 408 votes cast.

In the wake of the vote – and despite promising not to do so – Speaker Boehner began to settle scores with dissidents within the Republican caucus. Most notably, Speaker Boehner removed Florida Reps. Daniel Webster and Richard Nugent from the powerful Rules Committee – the committee that sets guidelines for debate, votes and the scheduling of legislation on the House floor.

Here’s the full list of dissenting Republican representaives:

1. Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI)
2. Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX)
3. Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA)
4. Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA)
5. Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK)
6. Rep. Curt Clawson (T-FL)
7. Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN)
8. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC)
9. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ)
10. Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY)
11. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ)
12. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
13. Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS)
14. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)
15. Rep. Steve King (R-IA)
16. Rep. Tom Massie (R-KY)
17. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC)
18. Rep. Rich Nugent (R-FL)
19. Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL)
20. Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL)
21. Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA)
22. Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN)
23. Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX)
24. Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL)
25. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL)

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U.S. House Floor

A procedural vote governing the rules for debate on the $1.1 trillion spending bill negotiated between House Republican Leaders and Senate Democrats survived by a single vote of 214-212 Thursday morning – only after some arm-twisting among rank-and-file republicans.

The narrow victory calls into question House Speaker John Boehner’s ability to win final passage of the bill from votes within his own caucus before midnight tonight’s deadline to avoid a government shutdown.

The razor thin victory on the spending bill, negotiated in secret with Senate Democrats following Election Day, has already riled conservatives who wonder why Boehner is so determined to cut a deal now rather than wait until after the swearing in of the new Congress on January 2.

By then, republicans will pad their House majority by an additional 12 seats while taking over the Senate by 54-46 seats – more than enough votes to stop President Barack Obama’s “pen and phone” adventures in executive overreach on such issues as illegal immigrant amnesty, changes to the ObamaCare law and other partisan issues.

Some believe that is exactly what Boehner is trying to avoid.

If he can barely muster the one vote he needed to keep the $1.1 trillion spending bill alive in the current House, how difficult will it be in the new House when 12 additional republican members – conservatives carried to victory by Tea Party activists and independent voters – take the oath of office just weeks from today?

The challenge to passage doesn’t end there.

Besides recalcitrant republicans, congressional democrats have some headaches of their own – starting with pressure from the White House to back the bill. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi took to the House floor to attack those parts of the bill that would relax government regulations on business.

Calling the bill “a ransom” and “blackmail”, Pelosi was not content with the measures $1.1 trillion price tag that fully funds ObamaCare, executive amnesty and raising of the debt limit.

While saying she was resigned to “whatever members choose to do” on the bill, she urged her fellow Democrats to vote against the legislation because it would weaken rules on business that many say are driving up bottom line costs resulting in downward pressure on job growth.

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John Boehner

Just weeks after winning sweeping victories in the 2014 elections that saw angry voters turn over control of the Senate to Republicans House Speaker John Boehner has decided to strike a sweeping bargain with lame duck Democrats over a huge omnibus-spending bill to fund government operations through September 2015 – the end of the current fiscal year.

The question is why.

Why would Speaker Boehner rush a 1,603-page $1.1 trillion spending bill through Congress now rather than wait for conservative Republicans elected on November 4 take over control of the Senate after the New Year – now just weeks away?

Speculation is that current House leaders – loyal to and controlled by the Republican establishment – want to cut a “moderate” spending deal with Senate Majority Harry Reid in time to head off the new and largely conservative class of Senators set to take over control of the chamber on January 2.

House conservatives have complained bitterly that voters soundly rejected “pass it before you can read it” government adding that the bill will deprive new Congress conservatives with the political leverage they will need to pry concessions from the Obama Administration on everything from defunding ObamaCare and out-of-control regulation to legislation repealing executive “amnesty” for illegal aliens.

The legislation will also “kick the can down the road” on government debt – now exceeding $18 trillion – by raising the debt limit to make way for more deficit spending while heading off any government shutdowns until at least late 2015.

The “compromise spending bill” will fully fund virtually all federal government activities through the end of the fiscal year next September except the Department of Homeland Security.

This includes full funding for ObamaCare… full funding for top down federal control over education… and full funding of “executive overreach” initiatives like amnesty, lack of government transparency and the selective enforcement of federal laws by Justice Department.

Apparently, conservatives should be content with modest cuts in the Internal Revenue Service and Environmental Protection Agency budgets with no concessions “greenhouse gas” emission standards based on the flawed science of “climate change”.

When reached for comment, the press spokesman for Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) said Sen. Lee is deeply disappointed that the process for the spending bill saying that it was set up to push Congress into a vote before the bill could be read by members – exactly the kind of legislative maneuvering that voters rejected on Election Day. Senator’s Ted Cruz and Rand Paul could not be reached by press time.

Please check back for updates.

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