Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Jan. 6 House Speaker Vote: Conservative Coup Against Boehner?

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Conservative members of Congress are frustrated with House Speaker John Boehner’s (shown) leadership and are expected to opt for a change on January 6, when the official speaker’s election is held. While this vote is typically just a formality, conservative lawmakers are hoping to use the opportunity to remove the Ohio Republican, who has served as speaker since 2011.

After the November elections, Republicans had decided behind closed doors that they would be nominating Boehner (R-Ohio) for speaker and did not offer any other nominees.

“Rep. Boehner was selected as the House Republican Conference’s choice for Speaker last month,” Boehner aide Michael Steel wrote in an e-mail, “and he expects to be elected by the whole House next week.”



But some of the more conservative members of Congress are not on board. Fox News reports that some "disaffected conservative House Republicans" intend to "rebel and vote against John Boehner for speaker of the House" next month.

“Right now, I’ve been meeting with a small group, and we — about 16, 18 — and we’re hoping to have a name of a sitting member of Congress that we can call out their name,” North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones said in a local radio interview before Christmas.

And while most of those planning to vote against Boehner have remained quiet, some have subtly made their points. Representative Tom Massie (R-Ky.), for example, posted a photo of a sign on his Twitter that reads, “Next Speaker Please.”

Likewise, some newly-elected Republican members of the House campaigned on a pledge not to vote for Boehner and have indicated that they will stay true to that promise.

Though it is considered a longshot for Boehner to lose the seat, conservatives are hoping to secure enough votes to deny him a majority, which would force a vote until someone reaches the necessary majority threshold.

This is not the first time that efforts have been made to remove Boehner as speaker. Fox News observes,

Such an attempt was tried two years ago, but ultimately failed: a group of conservatives tried to overthrow Boehner during the public vote, but only nine conservatives, frustrated with Boehner’s leadership, ended up voting against him. Organizers of that effort said more people had committed to vote against Boehner beforehand, but backed out before the vote.

Fox News explains that those who would be interested in selecting a new House speaker may be intimidated by having to stand up and call out the name of the person they are supporting. If others do not join them, they stand alone and may experience some humiliation, as well as retribution when it is time to assign committees.

But for some conservatives, the consequences may be worth it, as lawmakers have voiced frustrations with Boehner’s leadership over the years — frustrations which were intensified during the recent budget deal.

And the campaign to remove Boehner as House speaker has gained momentum outside of Congress as well. WND’s CEO Joseph Farah has launched a letter-writing campaign entitled “Don’t be Yellow: Dump Boehner Now!” Those who enlist in the campaign will have a letter submitted to every House Republican on their behalf imploring them to remove Boehner and elect a stronger leader. The letter reads:

Two huge issues, more than any others, prompted Americans to turn in droves to the Republican Party in November 2014 — Barack Obama’s blatantly unconstitutional executive action to provide amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, and the deliberately deceptive restructuring of America’s health-care system through Obamacare, which threatens to completely unravel the greatest health delivery system in the world.

Before the election, you and virtually every Republican running for Congress solemnly vowed to STOP this lame-duck president who is so determined to do whatever he wants, the Constitution be damned — while essentially daring Congress to "Try and stop me."

NOW YOU HAVE THE POWER, RIGHT AND DUTY TO STOP HIM. But it won't happen with John Boehner leading you. You know this to be true. The trillion-dollar budget deal is just the latest proof that Boehner is not capable of leading the House to victory during this critical period. He must be replaced.

Please act as if your country depends on what you do right now — because it truly does.

Thank you — the nation is watching. [Emphasis in original.]

In 2010, WND led a FedEx campaign that resulted in over nine million “pink slips” reaching Congress to warn members what would happen in November if they did not change their ways.

Over 500,000 letters have already been scheduled for delivery through the Don’t Be Yellow: Dump Boehner Now! campaign.

Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips has also endorsed the campaign to remove Boehner as speaker.

“Mr. Boehner made the obligatory statements about cutting spending and reducing Obamacare. Yet time after time, when the occasion called for him to stand and fight, he chose surrender,” Phillips told WND, adding that "2014 is almost over and 2015 is almost here. The first order of business for the House of Representatives in 2015 is to elect a new Speaker of the House. It cannot be John Boehner.”

Phillips cited the Republicans’ recent concessions to the Obama administration as the final straw.

“A month after its incredible victory, the GOP squandered its mandate, surrendering to the Democrats,” he asserted. “The GOP-led House of Representatives did not proclaim its mandate and hold off on major decisions until the Republican majority in the Senate was sworn in. No, they went to the GOP position of preemptive surrender and gave President Obama and the Democrats almost everything they wanted.”

“Despite the pleas and demands from the base, the GOP did nothing to stop Mr. Obama’s executive amnesty. They even rewarded left-wing billionaires who had spent millions to keep the Democrats in power by extending so-called ‘Green Energy’ subsidies,” concludes Phillips. “The architect of the Republican surrender was House Speaker John Boehner.”

Other critics argue that the problem does not lie simply with Boehner but with the entire GOP leadership.

Layne Hansen opined in the American Thinker blog, “It is time to stop thinking of John Boehner and the rest of the Republican congressional leadership as being cowardly and recognize them for what they are: part of The Ruling Class that believes it has the right to tell the rest of us how to live.”

“The current GOP leadership has got to go; this has ceased to be an arguable point. We cannot count on these people to do what is right. Conservatives did not give them majorities in both chambers for them to keep playing the same game,” Hansen wrote.

Still, some conservatives expect Boehner to retain his role as speaker of the House regardless of the dissatisfaction pervading that chamber. Newly elected Republican Representative Gary Palmer (R-Ala.), who campaigned on a pledge not to reelect Boehner, said that while he intends to keep his promise, he is “fully aware that he will be the speaker again.”

Furthermore, Palmer voiced some of the concerns that likely plague other conservatives who fear retribution if they stand against Boehner. “I'm fully aware of what that might mean in terms of committee assignments  — I, very likely, will be the lowest ranking guy on the committee that's in charge of making sure we have clean bathrooms," Palmer said.

Photo of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio): AP Images

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