Posts Tagged Ohio
JANUARY 21, 2013
REPUBLICANS PRAISE OBAMA FOR OFFERING BOLD VISION TO THWART
POSTED BY ANDY BOROWITZ
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Congressional Republicans heaped fulsome praise on President Obama’s second Inaugural Address today, saying that it had given them a detailed list of things to thwart over the next four years.
“My big fear was that the speech would be full of vague platitudes that wouldn’t be helpful to us in plotting against him,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “Once he started offering details of what he actually hoped to accomplish, though, I realized we had hit the mother lode.”
Speaker Boehner praised the President for citing such specifics as hiring math and science teachers, building roads, and reducing health-care costs: “Now that we know that’s what he’s got in mind for his second term, we can hit the ground running to stop him.”
“My takeaway from the speech was, if we work hard enough, there’s nothing we can’t keep him from doing,” he said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) praised Mr. Obama for injecting humor into a usually somber address: “I loved that joke about ending political name-calling.”
- In the Spotlight: Sen. Jim Inhofe uses new position to thwart Obama (sacbee.com)
- Al Qaeda Defers to U.S. Congress : The New Yorker (mbcalyn.com)
- Senate Outraged at Having to Work Weekend to Save Nation : The New Yorker (mbcalyn.com)
- Obama Furious He Wasted Week Posing for Coin : The New Yorker (mbcalyn.com)
- Sen. Marco Rubio will deliver Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address (miamiherald.com)
- With conciliatory tone, Cantor seeks to rebrand Republican Party (news.yahoo.com)
- Gun Sales Soar on Photo of Armed Obama : The New Yorker (mbcalyn.com)
- Republicans Praise Obama for Offering Bold Vision to Thwart (bandannie.com)
- Obama Urged to Resign Over Beyonce Scandal : The New Yorker (mbcalyn.com)
- Republicans Apologize to Top 1.5 Per Cent : The New Yorker (mbcalyn.com)
Club for Growth will punish members voting for Sandy flood aid
By Erik Wasson - 01/04/13 09:57 AM ET
The conservative Club for Growth said Friday that it will punish House members who voted for a flood insurance measure aimed at helping pay for Hurricane Sandy’s damage.
The Club will “key-vote” the measure, using it to compile an annual rating for each lawmaker.
The House on Thursday morning approved the $9.7-billion increase in funding for the National Flood Insurance Program. The bill passed easily in a bipartisan 354-67 vote.
It needed a two-thirds vote of the House for approval since it was coming under suspension of rules procedures.
“Congress should not allow the federal government to be involved in the flood insurance industry in the first place, let alone expand the National Flood Insurance Program’s authority,” a statement from the Club’s Andy Roth said.
An NFIP reform bill was passed with bipartisan support in the last Congress, but some conservatives believe the program should be ended or slowly curtailed.
Supporters of NFIP say that the private marketplace will not offer flood protection to the public at affordable rates, making a government program necessary.
Flood policies are sold by private insurers who often package the policies with other home coverage. The 2012 NFIP reform bill was supported by the insurance industry.
The flood insurance bill, sponsored by New Jersey conservative Rep. Scott Garrett (R), is the first slice of Sandy aid being allowed to come to the floor in the new Congress.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has committed to allowing a $51 billion tranche to come to the floor when the House returns from recess the week after next. Boehner pulled a $60 billion (in total) bill from the floor late on New Year’s Day, provoking angry outbursts from Northeast lawmakers in his own party, who compared it to a stab in the back.
- Right Wing Group Will Punish Republicans Voting for Sandy Flood Aid (littlegreenfootballs.com)
- Club For Growth Will Punish Reps Who Vote For Sandy Aid (alan.com)
- Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – ” Hurricane Sandy Relief: A Flood of Hypocrisy (mbcalyn.com)
- What is wrong with the Republican Party – ‘Club for Growth will punish members voting for Sandy flood aid’ (thelastofthemillenniums.wordpress.com)
- House votes to expand borrowing authority for Sandy flood claims (nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com)
- More Businesses Seek Government Flood Insurance After Sandy: Marsh (insurancejournal.com)
- House passes $9.7B Sandy relief bill (cbsnews.com)
- Martin Bashir Busts Paul Ryan For Voting ‘No’ On Hurricane Sandy Aid But Yes On Midwest Flood Aid (mediaite.com)
- Sandy Victims in N.J., N.Y., Blast Delays in Flood Insurance Aid (insurancejournal.com)
- Sandy could drain the Sandy Insurance (insurancejournal.com)
JANUARY 2, 2013
REPUBLICANS APOLOGIZE TO TOP 1.5 PER CENT
POSTED BY ANDY BOROWITZ
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In the aftermath of the fiscal-cliff deal, Republicans in Congress issued a heartfelt apology to the top 1.5 per cent richest people in America, offering “messages of profound condolence” for allowing their taxes to increase slightly.
“Our hearts go out to them,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), still teary-eyed after hanging up the phone with a multimillionaire in Orange County, California. “We came to Washington to do the work of 1.5 per cent of the American people, and we didn’t get it done.”
The House Speaker said that he had spoken to several members of the top 1.5 per cent who were “understandably despondent” over seeing their taxes rise marginally as a result of the deal: “Some of them were so upset they even considered moving to Canada, until they found out the taxes were higher there.”
Mr. Boehner said that he tried to offer the wealthy consolation by reminding them that because of an increase in payroll taxes, millions of middle-class and working-class Americans would be suffering more than they would: “That usually put them in a better mood.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) assailed the fiscal-cliff legislation today, calling it “a classic example of putting 98.5 per cent of the American people ahead of the rest of the country.”
Offering words of hope to the top 1.5 per cent, Mr. Cantor said, “In a few months we’ll have the next debate about the debt ceiling. As God is my witness, we will try to do a better job of bringing this nation to the brink of Armageddon.”
But to billionaires such as Harland Dorrinson, a longtime super-donor to the G.O.P., such assurances ring hollow: “If the fiscal-cliff deal is the kind of performance we can expect from Republican politicians, what’s the point of owning them?”
- Republicans Apologize to Top 1.5 Per Cent (proglib.newsvine.com)
- Why Boehner, Cantor parted ways on Sandy, cliff (politico.com)
- Boehner: Obama Needs to Stop Acting Like He Won Election : The New Yorker (mbcalyn.com)
- John Boehner faces Republican backlash over fiscal cliff and Hurricane Sandy (telegraph.co.uk)
- Northeast Republicans add to GOP crisis with split on Sandy aid (bangordailynews.com)
- The Fiscal Cliff explained (macleans.ca)
- FURIOUS NEW YORK REPUBLICAN: The GOP Just Stuck A Knife In The Back Of New Yorkers By Shafting Them On Sandy (businessinsider.com)
- House Republicans clear way for fiscal cliff vote (thehindu.com)
- House Passes Fiscal Cliff Deal Over Conservative Nays (buzzfeed.com)
- Amid backlash, Boehner relents on Sandy vote (cbsnews.com)
Tax chaos looms in wake of Boehner’s failed ‘Plan B’ proposal
By Bernie Becker and Peter Schroeder - 12/26/12 05:00 AM ET
The failure of House Speaker John Boehner’s “Plan B” could create chaos for taxpayers across the income spectrum.
With a slew of tax provisions scheduled to expire in less than two weeks, a dive off the fiscal cliff could also complicate the chances for a fundamental rewrite of the tax code — something top officials on both sides have said they want.
But with the clock ticking, some lawmakers aren’t so sure that their colleagues appreciate the possible upheaval if all current tax policies expire, even for just a few days or weeks.
“People have certainly been told,” said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who is retiring at year’s end and has spent much of the last two years pushing for a broad deficit deal.
“It’s always hard to know how people process what they hear, how much they really understand,” Conrad, the chairman of the Budget Committee, told The Hill. “Clearly the committees that deal with this, they understand.”
On Friday, President Obama called on Congress to pass a pared-down deficit reduction deal, extending tax rates for all but the highest income levels and extending unemployment benefits. At the same time, Obama added that policymakers could build off that measure with additional tax-and-spending measures.
That statement came a day after Boehner (R-Ohio) declined to put his proposal to lock in rates for annual income up to $1 million to a vote, after acknowledging that he didn’t have the support in the GOP conference to pass such a deal.
The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center has said that, all told, taxpayers would face more than $500 billion in larger bills in 2013 if Washington does nothing, from higher payroll taxes to increased individual tax rates to a broader estate tax.
All income tax rates, for instance, will rise on Jan. 1, with the top rate going from 35 percent to Obama’s preferred level of 39.6 percent. The top dividend and capital gains rates, now 15 percent, would shoot up to 39.6 percent and 20 percent, respectively.
The exemption for the estate tax would also shrink significantly, from roughly $5 million a person to $1 million, and the rate would rise from 35 percent to 55 percent.
Democrats, meanwhile, are fighting to keep stimulus-era expansions of tax breaks like the Earned Income Tax Credit, meant to help the working poor. Sevearl other targeted tax incentives are also scheduled to expire.
Figures from across the ideological spectrum have suggested many or all of those provisions could be dealt with retroactively, if it came to it.
But some changes would have an immediate impact on taxpayers. Obama’s most recent offer to Boehner, communicated before the Speaker shifted to “Plan B,” did not ask for an extension of the current 2-percentage point cut in the payroll tax.
Wall Street economists and the Congressional Budget Office have said that allowing that tax cut and expanded unemployment insurance to expire would drag down economic growth.
The IRS has also said that roughly two-thirds of 2012 tax returns could be delayed if Washington fails to roll back the reach of the Alternative Minimum Tax, a system meant to ensure that the wealthiest can’t legally evade paying taxes.
Congress did not patch the AMT for inflation when it was enacted, forcing lawmakers to routinely pass a “patch.” But the last patch expired at the end of 2011, and some 30 million more households could be hit by the tax for 2012 without congressional action.
With all that in mind, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) said that, despite how the situation looks now, she doesn’t believe Congress and the White House would allow the economy to totally fall off the cliff.
“If you can’t do it now, how difficult is it going to be January 1st?” Snowe, who did not seek reelection this year, told reporters on Friday.
“You’re dealing with a new Congress, newly elected senators, members. It’s a whole new equation. It’s not going to be that easy to put the genie back in the bottle here.”
But top lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed concern that politics could trump policy in the coming days.
Boehner, after being asked at a Friday news conference, declined to rule out bringing up a fiscal cliff measure that House Democrats would need to carry over the finish line.
Democrats in the chamber, meanwhile, urged Boehner to follow in the footsteps of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who as Speaker relied on Republicans to pass an Iraq War spending bill.
“It’s important that the Speaker put the good of the country above Republican House caucus politics,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said at a separate Friday news conference.
For their part, Boehner and other Republicans have said that, after “Plan B” went down, the burden was on Obama and Democrats to put together a deal that could make it through Congress.
“We all know it’s a disaster. We would like to solve it,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), the top Republican on the Finance Committee. “Somehow, the president’s got to get in and say, ‘Yea, I’ll take this, I’m not going to veto this.’”
“I think they really want to go over the cliff, I really do. That’s pretty apparent to me,” Hatch added.
Allowing current tax policies to lapse would also underscore the challenge of tax reform, in which popular tax breaks and some supported by powerful lobbies would be put on the table as policymakers look for ways to streamline the code and lower rates.
But Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a longtime fan of the last comprehensive tax revamp, from 1986, shot down any concerns that the late breakdown of deficit talks could complicate efforts to pursue broad tax reform in the coming year.
“We’re not doing tax reform bills in four days, but I think what’s going to happen between now and the end of the year positions us well for next year,” he said. “It’s obvious that both sides are going to keep searching for common ground and that’s the way it ought to be.”
- Tax chaos looms in wake of Boehner’s failed ‘Plan B’ proposal (thehill.com)
- Congress in Tizzy; One GOP Leader: Obama ‘Eager to Go Over the Cliff’ (bloomberg.com)
- Your financial cliff Q & A (dailyitem.com)
- Over the fiscal cliff: How hard a landing? (kansascity.com)
- Budget Showdown Leaves Taxpayers in Limbo Before Year End (bloomberg.com)
- Fear, finger-pointing mount over “fiscal cliff” – Reuters (reuters.com)
- Fear, finger-pointing mount over U.S. fiscal cliff (news.yahoo.com)
- Grand Bargain Shrinks as Congress Nears US Budget Deadline – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Budget deal showdown leaving taxpayers in Limbo before year end (bangordailynews.com)
- Sen. Barrasso: Obama sees a ‘political victory’ in going over the cliff (thehill.com)
Business groups grow frustrated over impasse in ‘fiscal cliff’ talks
By Vicki Needham - 12/23/12
Business leaders are growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress in talks to head off billions in looming tax hikes and spending cuts they say will harm the nation’s economy.
Concern increased among business groups following the failure of House Republicans to round up enough votes to pass their “Plan B” bill that would have stopped tax increases on anyone making $1 million a year or less.
“We’re not in a state of panic over last night because it was part of the process,” David French, the chief lobbyist for the National Retail Federation, told The Hill.
But “we’re nervous,” he said.
French argues though that while a deal at this point is logistically difficult, reaching an agreement would set a positive tone for the next couple of years when lawmakers will be forced to work together on comprehensive tax and entitlement reform.
Lack of a bipartisan compromise would be the “worst thing that can happen,” he said, as it would spell “two more years of political trench warfare.”
The stark reality of that possibility sunk in after lawmakers left Washington on Friday for the Christmas holidays with neither a broad bipartisan agreement nor a back up plan that could, at the very least, prevent more than $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to begin in January.
French said all of the sides must come together on a deal.
“House Republicans negotiating with themselves aren’t going to resolve this,” French said.
Through most of the month, business leaders sounded an optimistic chorus. And talks between Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Obama did appear to make progress before Boehner moved to his backup plan.
But the latest news has shifted the mood among business leaders.
“There is incredible frustration,” said one source representing the business community who asked not to be identified.
Business owners across the country now feel like the last month has been “virtually wasted” with unnecessary political posturing when they “could have been at the table hammering away” toward an agreement, the source said.
“Our position hasn’t changed, we know what businesses want and we’re advocating for what they need, which is something that will offer growth.”
The White House and Capitol Hill have served as a virtual carousel for dozens of chief executives who have urged lawmakers and President Obama to craft a broad agreement that includes tax hikes, spending cuts and entitlement reforms.
Collectively, business groups generally have pushed for the sides to agree to a sizeable deficit-reduction package that also prevents tax hikes on most taxpayers. Big and small businesses have sometimes been at odds during the talks, with corporate CEOs offering more support for higher tax rates and small business groups arguing that would hurt their members.
Many hoped the talks could provide a framework for tax reform next year, something that has long been a priority for the corporate world.
- How Boehner’s Plan B Vote Imploded – NationalJournal.com (mbcalyn.com)
- Conservatives urge GOP leaders to be bold, prepare to go over cliff – The Hill’s On The Money (mbcalyn.com)
- Search for Way Through Fiscal Impasse Turns to the Senate – NYTimes.com (mbcalyn.com)
- Congress in Tizzy; One GOP Leader: Obama ‘Eager to Go Over the Cliff’ (bloomberg.com)
- How Party of Budget Restraint Shifted to ‘No New Taxes,’ Ever – NYTimes.com (mbcalyn.com)
- Boehner, White House vow to press ahead (kansascity.com)
- A Flaccid Boehner (skydancingblog.com)
- “Fiscal cliff” efforts in disarray as U.S. lawmakers flee (reuters.com)
- Conservatives urge GOP leaders to be bold, prepare to go over cliff (thehill.com)
- US ‘fiscal cliff’ vote abandoned (bbc.co.uk)
Could There Be a Coup Against Boehner?
With the fiscal cliff approaching, will House Republicans turn on their own?
By Billy House
Updated: December 21, 2012 | 5:34 p.m.
December 21, 2012 | 4:42 p.m.
J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/AP
If any Republicans are plotting to overthrow John Boehner as House speaker, they aren’t making a lot of noise about it. Then again, successful coup d’etats are organized with whispers, not widely telegraphed, and typically denied right up until they are launched.
“No, I’m not,” Boehner said on Friday, when asked at a news conference if he was concerned about losing his post, as his No. 2 in command, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., stood by his side.
Still, the refusal on Thursday night of at least 35 of Boehner’s fellow Republicans to join in supporting his fiscal-cliff “Plan B” to avert income-tax rates from rising at year’s end on most Americans, forcing him to embarrassingly pull his own legislation from floor consideration, is being taken by some outside groups as added evidence of a speakership in dire trouble — or, even that Boehner should step down now.
Some conservative anti-Boehner forces outside of Congress are even floating names of members they’d like to see replace him. Those include GOP Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio — identified by colleagues as a ringleader of the conservative hold-outs on Thursday — Jeb Hensarling of Texas, Tom Price of Georgia, and Cantor.
None of those lawmakers, predictably, are saying they will challenge Boehner. But under the House rules for electing a speaker, that’s not necessarily how they would go about leading such a revolt anyway.
There are even some murmurs within the House Republican Conference about what might happen when the House holds its next speaker election on Jan. 3 to open up the new 113th Congress.
This talk is not solely the result of Thursday night’s events, of course. That setback for Boehner represented only the latest in a string of episodes over two years as speaker in which he has been unable to bring the rowdiest and most conservative of his own rank-and-file members in line.
It has been a chronic and perhaps tiring circumstance for many even in his party. But it is one that is now magnified by the pressures of a need to find common ground with President Obama and Democrats to avert the looming expiration of Bush-era tax cuts and deep spending cuts set to kick in with the new year.
A successful strategy to oust Boehner would not require a challenger to pick up the support of a majority of GOP members. Rather, it would take less than half of the number of Thursday night’s 35 or more holdouts to block Boehner from keeping the speaker’s gavel. That’s because under House rules, a speaker must be elected with an “absolute majority” of all the House member votes cast, Republican and Democrat. That means the winner — who is not required to even be a member of Congress — must take at least 50 percent, plus one vote. For instance, if all 234 Republicans and 200 Democrats in the 113th Congress actually show up to vote for speaker, just 17 Republican defections from Boehner to anyone else could jeopardize his reelection by denying him the 218-vote absolute majority. And if no candidate receives the requisite majority, the roll call is repeated until a speaker is elected.
An example of a worst-case scenario occurred at the start of the 34th Congress in 1855, when no candidate for speaker could secure a majority for 133 ballots. For Boehner, though, even just being forced to a second ballot might be embarrassing enough as a de facto “no confidence” vote that he would decide to step aside for another House Republican name to be considered.
Such maneuvering would not amount to Republicans handing the speaker’s gavel to Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California as the alternative, because she would not have enough votes, either. It would be purely about preventing Boehner from getting the required 218 votes.
Such a conspiracy, however, would require two key ingredients.
One is finding 17 House Republicans, or more, willing to publicly vote for someone other than Boehner on an initial ballot and even later ones, and staying unified in that effort —all the while knowing that retribution from Boehner will likely await them if they fail.
Then, if Boehner does eventually give up, an alternative candidate from among House Republicans must be able to rally an absolute majority of votes. There are rumors, which could not be substantiated in interviews with several House Republicans, of colleagues quietly trying to line up support for themselves as speaker if Boehner runs into trouble.
But one self-described conservative said he is aware of efforts to organize some show of dissatisfaction with Boehner during the speaker election on Jan. 3. This same member said that if Boehner were to not be elected on the first ballot, it would be tantamount to a “no-confidence vote.” He said that would likely lead to some energetic closed-door conferences to iron out differences, “or to even pick a new leader.”
That lawmaker said that under such a scenario, he does not believe that either Cantor or the No. 3 House Republican, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California, would be selected as a new nominee, in part because of the gushing lock-step unity they’ve been emphasizing with Boehner as a leadership “team.”
In fact, aides to Cantor, who in the past has had an uneasy history with Boehner, have been determined over the past year to snuff out any suggestion of ongoing tension between the two, responding angrily when the idea of a Cantor challenge to Boehner was brought up.
Meanwhile, Price was reported by National Review as someone who might be thinking of putting his name into consideration as an option to Boehner if fiscal-cliff talks are seen by House conservatives as having gone sour. Some had noted that because Price has been mentioned as a potential 2014 primary challenger to Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., even a quixotic challenge to Boehner’s speakership might score him points with conservatives, despite the cost of such a move in terms of potential retribution from Boehner.
But after a morning of such speculation on Dec. 9, a Price spokesman denied the congressman was running for speaker. “He is focused on real solutions to get America back on track. Those solutions reside in fundamental principles that embrace individual opportunity and economic freedom,” said the spokesman, Ryan Murphy. Nine days later, Price was named vice chairman of the House Budget Committee.
Hensarling is a darling of House conservatives. But his office on Friday responded to suggestions he might be interested in running for speaker with a statement that, “The only leadership position Congressman Hensarling plans to hold in the 113th Congress is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.”
Jordan, the outgoing chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group of more than 160 House conservatives, is a member who helped lead the charge against Boehner’s Plan B. His office had no comment on speculation he could emerge as a speaker hopeful.
Even before Boehner’s decision to pull his Plan B off the floor on Thursday night, the conservative group American Majority Action had this month launched a campaign to dump Boehner as speaker, seeking to convince House Republicans to vote for someone else on Jan. 3. The Virginia-based group is among those angered by what it sees as Boehner’s softening on tax increases as part of a fiscal-cliff deal. The organization is also upset by Boehner’s recent removal of some conservatives from committee posts.
But after Thursday night’s events, the group said in a statement, Boehner’s leadership has been “discredited,” adding, “Our country’s economy deserves better than to be held hostage by Speaker Boehner’s last cling to power.”
“He (Boehner) should save the Republican Party the embarrassment of a public leadership battle and resign,” added Ron Meyer, a spokesman for the group.
But Boehner is projecting a less-than-worried outlook.
“Listen, you’ve all heard me say this, and I’ve told my colleagues this: If you do the right things every day for the right reasons, the right things will happen,” Boehner said at his Friday news conference.
“And while we may have not been able to get the votes last night to avert 99.81 percent of the tax increases I don’t think … they weren’t taking that out on me. They were dealing with the perception that someone might accuse them of raising taxes,” Boehner said.
- Trouble for Boehner’s Speakership? – NationalJournal.com (mbcalyn.com)
- How Boehner’s Plan B Vote Imploded – NationalJournal.com (mbcalyn.com)
- Breaking: Boehner’s Plan B fiscal cliff bill pulled amid dissension in GOP caucus (mbcalyn.com)
- A Flaccid Boehner (skydancingblog.com)
- The humiliation of John Boehner (salon.com)
- Right rages at Boehner fiscal cliff debacle – Katie Glueck – POLITICO.com (tribuneofthepeople.com)
- The Republican Leadership Is Very Unhappy Today (motherjones.com)
- Are Republicans Ready to Dump Boehner? (politicalwire.com)
- Boehner meets his Brutus (thehill.com)
- The Boehner of our existence (legalinsurrection.com)
Trouble for Boehner’s Speakership?
The failure to persuade GOP has the speaker ‘on the ropes,’ some say.
Updated: December 21, 2012 | 6:08 a.m.
December 20, 2012 | 8:40 p.m.
AP PHOTO/ALEX BRANDON
Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, center, departs, with reporters nearby after a House Republicans meeting on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012 in Washington.
John Boehner’s speakership is suddenly “on the ropes,” says at least one outside conservative group after Thursday night’s that saw the Republican leader scrap a vote on his own plan to avert the year-end “fiscal cliff” because not enough members of his party would support it.
“Speaker Boehner said today’s bill would pass. His credibility as a leader has evaporated,” declared Ron Meyer a spokesman for Majority Action, a Virginia-based group, which has trained thousands of conservative activists and says it predates the tea party movement.
Meyer’s group was in contact with members and keeping track Thursday of the lack of support for Boehner’s bill, and by early evening was predicting correctly that a lack of conservative support for the speaker’s plan—more than 30 opposed it—meant it would not pass if voted on.
Boehner’s pulling back—at least for now—on floor consideration of his own Plan B option that would let taxes rise only on those with annual incomes of $1 million or higher further muddles Washington’s efforts to resolve a partisan stalemate over about $500 billion in year-end tax increases and spending cuts. Economists warn that going over the cliff could send the country into a recession.
Even before Boehner pulled his “Plan B” off the floor Thursday night and lawmakers departed for their holiday recess, American Majority had already this month launched an effort to oust Boehner as speaker, focusing on about 100 House Republicans members. The group sought to convince enough of them to vote for someone else in the upcoming speaker’s election on Jan. 3 that will kick off the new 113 congressional session.
Meyer’s group now says the lack of votes Thursday night for the House GOP leader’s Plan B tax measure is a vote of no confidence for Boehner by his conference.
House Budget Committee ranking Democrat Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said Thursday night’s events were “very embarrassing” for the Speaker.
“He cannot control his own Republican caucus,” he said on MSNBC. “He couldn’t even sell his bad plan”
But not everyone agreed with Meyer that Boehner’s leadership might be in peril.
Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio, who is close to Boehner, said the idea that this episode has hurt Boehner’s speakership is, “like saying the superintendent of an insane asylum should be discharged because he couldn’t control the crazy people. I mean that’s nuts.”
The Ohio Republican had unveiled a new plan this week after declaring dissatisfaction with the latest offer in one-on-one negotiations with President Obama that he said would bring $1.3 trillion in new revenues for only $850 billion in net spending reductions.
The speaker characterized that plan—including Obama’s new offer to embrace a freeze on Bush-era tax rates set to expire for those who make up to $400,000 annually—as the president failing to present “a balanced offer.
But it quickly became clear that Boehner might not even be able to sell his own approach to House conservatives who appear opposed to letting tax rates on any level rise, and that his members might not deliver him enough votes. Thursday night’s events bore that out.
“Conservatives won a huge battle tonight. Speaker Boehner can’t get away with his reckless political ploys anymore at the expense of our principles,” said Meyer. “His speakership is on the ropes, and the harder he pushes, the less likely he’ll be speaker come January.”
That might sound far-fetched. But perhaps not—given the trouble he’s having securing votes for this bill. In fact, if all House members show up to vote that day, and actually cast ballots for someone, just 17 members of his own Republican conference can block Boehner’s reelection.
That’s because House Republicans are set to enter the new Congress holding 234 seats and the Democrats will have 200 seats (one of the House’s total 435 seats is to be vacant with the resignation last month of former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois).
And the linchpin of the emerging conservative “oust-Boehner” strategy rests on the House rule that to be elected as speaker, a candidate must receive an “absolute majority” of all House member votes cast for individuals.
Details contained in a Congressional Research Service analysis dated Jan. 6, 2011, titled, “Speakers of the House: Elections, 1913-2011,” confirm that a concerted effort by as few as 17 House conservatives could–in fact–throw this normally routine reelection process for Boehner into turmoil.
“Members normally vote for the [speaker] candidate of their own party conference, but may vote for any individual, whether nominated or not,” states the CRS report. “To be elected, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of all the votes cast for individuals. This number may be less than a majority (which will be 218) of the full membership of the House, because of vacancies, absentees, or members voting ‘present.’ “
In short, with Jackson having retired, as few as 17 House Republican members now can deny Boehner an “absolute majority” of the total 434 expected votes on Jan. 3, if all the Democrats back Pelosi.
Thursday night’s events followed the harsh line taken by Boehner early this month against four dissenters in his conference, at least three of whom are conservatives who have been butting heads with party leaders over government spending and the federal deficit.
One of those members, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas, responded Thursday night to Boehner’s decision not to immediately proceed with a vote by saying that, “Republican leadership thought they could silence conservatives when they kicked us off our committees.”
“I’m glad that enough of my colleagues refused to back down from the threats and intimidation, thus preventing the Conference from abandoning our principles,”Huelskamp said.
But LaTourette played down Boehner’s troubles.
“Boehner’s having difficulty convincing a certain number of individuals in the conference to support the team,” LaTourette said.
- Conservative Group Launches Campaign To ‘Depose’ Boehner From Speakership (thedaleygator.wordpress.com)
- “The Republican Winter Carnival”: Will John Boehner’s Speakership Survive Until Plan C? (bell-book-candle.com)
- “The Republican Winter Carnival”: Will John Boehner’s Speakership Survive Until Plan C? (mykeystrokes.com)
- Can John Boehner Even Keep His Speakership Now? (alan.com)
- The Existential Exasperation of Being John Boehner (whatever.scalzi.com)
- FISCAL CLIFF: Here’s What Happens Now (business.financialpost.com)
- Boehner to members: Leadership is watching their voting patterns – The Hill (mbcalyn.com)
- GOP: Boehner will still be speaker (politico.com)
- Boehner faces ‘unrest’ in House over committee snubs, tax concession (foxnews.com)
- Epic Fail: Boehner Offers Millionaire Tax, Obama Rejects; Speakership in Jeopardy (conservativebyte.com)
House Speaker John Boehner apparently broke from Republican Party principles yet again this weekend, this time with a reported agreement to give President Barack Obama a full year-long free ride that would give up all GOP leverage until early 2014 on the debt ceiling.
“House Speaker John A. Boehner has offered to push any fight over the federal debt limit off for a year, a major concession that would deprive Republicans of leverage in the budget battle but is breathing new life into stalled talks over the year-end ‘fiscal cliff,’” the Washington Post reported late Sunday evening. “The offer came Friday, according to people in both parties familiar with the talks, as part of the latest effort by Boehner (R-Ohio) to strike a deal with President Obama to replace more than $500 billion in painful deficit-reduction measures set to take effect in January.”
The most recent rise in the debt ceiling limit was to $16.4 trillion, as set by Congress last year. The national debt is creeping up on that $16.4 trillion now; the country is less than $20 billion away.
According to the Post, Boehner’s offer doesn’t go as far as what Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner wanted: absolute executive control over the federal debt limit indefinitely into the future. But the deal also leaves Republicans with little leverage with the White House in budget negotiations and other deals over the next year.
Boehner is now in an apparent rift with his Senate Republican counterparts. When Geithner asked congressional Republicans for leeway on the debt ceiling two weeks ago, McConnell reportedly “burst into laughter” in Geithner’s face. McConnell also disagreeswith Boehner on tax increases, and a spokesman says he won’t support any increases in tax rates on anyone.
This is Boehner’s second reported cave this weekend; earlier this weekend, he reportedly offered to increase tax rates on those earning more than $1 million per year. Obama reportedly rejected the offer, claiming Boehner hadn’t caved on Republican principles enough. Other media outlets confirmed Politico’s reporting shortly thereafter.
“Speaker John Boehner has proposed allowing tax rates to rise for the wealthiest Americans if President Barack Obama agrees to major entitlement cuts, according to several sources close to the talks,” Politico reported. “It is the first time Boehner has offered any boost in marginal tax rates for any income group, and it would represent a major concession for the Ohio Republican. Boehner suggested hiking the Bush-era tax rates for top wage earners, including those with annual incomes of $1 million or more annually, beginning Jan. 1, two sources said.”
Since Boehner’s and Obama’s fiscal cliff negotiations have been conducted in secret, behind closed doors, it’s unclear which team is leaking this information about the talks. It could be the president’s staff, or it could be the speaker’s staff. Either way, liberal media outlets are clearly getting the leaked reports first — a sign that whomever is doing the leaking knows the information is embarrassing for Boehner.
- John Boehner caves again – Tea Party Nation (gds44.wordpress.com)
- Report: Boehner proposes tax hike for nation’s millionaires – The Hill’s On The Money (mbcalyn.com)
- McConnell: Obama Wins The Tax Fight — Now On To The Debt Limit (tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com)
- Pres. Obama, House Speaker Boehner meet again on fiscal cliff (fox6now.com)
- MORE CAVING: Boehner Removes Debt Limit Threat for 1 Yr (thebrennerbrief.com)
- Hoyer: The Debt Ceiling ‘Is Not Real’ (cnsnews.com)
- Democrats urge Obama to declare debt ceiling unconstitutional (mysanantonio.com)
- Sources: Boehner Caves On Taxes For Wealthiest Americans (huffingtonpost.com)
- Republicans can’t waive their “forcing mechanisms” without having forced something (powerlineblog.com)
- BOEHNER: I Looked At Geithner And I Said, ‘You Can’t Be Serious?’ (businessinsider.com)
Report: Boehner proposes tax hike for nation’s millionaires
By Kyle Balluck
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has offered to raise the top tax rate for earners making more than $1 million, a source told the Associated Press.
The development in the fiscal talks comes amid pessimism the Speaker and President Obama can hammer out a deal before Christmas.
The source said Obama has not accepted the offer, according to the Associated Press, which added that Boehner is still seeking more spending cuts than Obama has proposed.
Democrats had said Boehner wouldn’t relent on raising tax rates on the wealthy for fear it could cost him his job, a suggestion the Speaker dismissed Friday.
“I’m not concerned about my job as Speaker,” said Boehner. “What I’m concerned about is doing the right thing for our kids and grandkids. And if we don’t fix this spending problem, their future is going to be rather bleak.”
Boehner and Obama last met on Thursday.
The 50-minute long Oval Office meeting was the first between the two since last Sunday. It followed a day of harsh rhetoric and attacks that suggested Obama and Boehner were digging in rather than narrowing their differences on taxes and entitlements.
Boehner to members: Leadership is watching their voting patterns
By Molly K. Hooper - 12/05/12 12:31 PM ET
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) warned his conference on Wednesday that leaders are “watching” how the rank-and-file vote to determine committee assignments, according to sources in the closed-door meeting.
Boehner addressed the firestorm over the removal of four lawmakers from plum committee assignments at the weekly GOP conference meeting.
According to Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), one of the lawmakers denied a spot on his current committee in the next Congress, Boehner “did note that ‘we [leadership] have punished four members,’ he claimed that it had nothing to do with their conservative ideology, but had to do with their voting patterns.”
Also removed from committee spots were Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and David Schweikert (Ariz.).
Huelskamp added that Boehner warned GOP lawmakers that “there may be more folks that will be targeted … ‘we’re watching all your votes.’ “
“It was a message to the Republican conference in general, especially the comment today that there may be more punishment coming if you don’t vote the right way,” Huelskamp said.
A source at the conference meeting disputed Huelskamp’s characterization of Boehner’s point, noting that the Speaker said “some votes factored into [the decision to remove lawmakers from committee assignments] but it wasn’t just [votes], it was a bigger picture than all that, that caused this to happen.”
The crux of the problem is that Democrats have successfully employed a “divide and conquer” strategy when outspoken GOP House members “gratuitously bad-mouth the leadership,” a separate source told The Hill. “That [GOP members] run to the press to get their own headlines and that divides us and that’s really where Boehner’s coming from,” the source said.
Another GOP source who was in the room corroborated that Boehner addressed the question of a supposedly punishing conservatives.
The source quoted Boehner as saying “the Steering Committee this week decided to remove committee assignments from four members, and replace them with other members. This was not done lightly. This is something the committee took seriously, and hopes never to have to do again.”
According to the source, Boehner continued, “the committee’s decision had nothing to do with ideology. For those suggesting otherwise, I’d respectfully suggest that you look at some of the people the Steering Committee put in charge of committees. I’d also suggest you look at some of the members who were added to the committees by the Steering Committee. If you do that and come away with the conclusion that there was a ‘conservative purge,’ I’d be interested hearing the rationale.”
Huelskamp addressed the conference, receiving, he said, a “warm reception from some and silence from others,” and requested that leaders provide “that list of votes used in the Steering Committee to reward or punish members.”
Huelskamp said his request for committee votes was met by “stony silence” from leadership, and said Boehner’s refusal to release the votes was akin to stabbing him in the back.
“Where I come from in Kansas if you want to stab a guy you look him in the eye,” he said. “You don’t go behind a closed door.”
Huelskamp declined to say if he would vote for Boehner to retain his Speakership in January.
“The Fiesta Bowl with K-State is the same day,” he said, indicating that he may abstain.
- Huelskamp hits House leadership; working to regain House Ag seat (midwestdemocracy.com)
- Boehner Has To Go: Ignore the Constitution, Party Uber Alles! (riehlworldview.com)
- Boehner Says Members Will Be Punished for Their Votes (politicalwire.com)
- Boehner ousts Huelskamp from agriculture and budget committees (kansascity.com)
- GOP Gets Serious, Boots Tea-Partiers Off Budget Committee (addictinginfo.org)
- Boehner, GOP Leaders Purge Conservatives From Powerful Committees (thedaleygator.wordpress.com)
- Boehner Purges Conservative Members from Influential Committees (news.firedoglake.com)
- Boehner Tries To Curb Tea Party Influence (alan.com)
- GOP leaders remove 4 from plum House committees (news.yahoo.com)
- Boehner Retools Major Committees’ Makeup (hispanicbusiness.com)