Making Sense of the Mutiny Against John Boehner
Some House Republicans are openly criticizing Speaker John Boehner, but right now, the threat that he could actually be deposed of his speakership remains small. So where's the mutiny coming from, exactly?
Some House Republicans are openly criticizing Speaker John Boehner, but right now, the threat that he could actually be deposed of his speakership remains small. So where's the mutiny coming from, exactly? Well, Boehner is working to "maintain Republican unity on deficit reduction talks as lawmakers on the far right openly chafed at his leadership," The New York Times' Jonathan Weisman reports, but the only ones criticizing Boehner on the record are those who've already been punished for not playing well with others. Reps. Tim Huelskamp and Justin Amash were both stripped of committee assignments for not cooperating with Republican leaders earlier this month, so they have less to lose in attacking Boehner. "If Speaker Boehner wants to come back to my district, he’s not going to be met with very much welcome," Amash told the Times.
But the dissenters know their numbers aren't big enough to actually push Boehner out as speaker. National Review's Robert Costa reported Wednesday afternoon:
"We don’t have the votes to make a serious run for the gavel," says a Republican House member, who requested anonymity to speak freely. "People are unhappy, but there is no one willing to lead a rebellion."
Conservatives in the House are "waiting to see what Boehner does," an "insider" told Costa. Boehner is reportedly open to accepting more increases in tax revenue than the $800 billion Republicans initially offered President Obama on the fiscal cliff. The reporting of Roll Call's Daniel Newhauser indicates the frustration from conservatives is not totally about what Boehner's negotiating. It's also about how he's doing it — by not telling them very much:
The lame-duck floor schedule has been conspicuously light, with Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., scheduling low-wattage votes this week as Boehner and President Barack Obama trade fiscal cliff offers behind closed doors — keeping even other members of the GOP leadership in the dark.
“There is a little pushback on that. I think the members would rather this be an open debate,” Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana said Wednesday. “We’re voting on one bill today. The whole day we’re voting on one bill. On the rule. We voted on the journal last night. I mean, it’s comical. It really is. And it’s sad. Because we’re not in regular order. All the work’s being done behind the scenes by staff and then the speaker and the president.”
Update: Boehner said in a press conference late this morning that he's "not concerned about my job as speaker." He also had charts.