Speaker John Boehner may be preparing to bring the Senate government-funding and debt-ceiling bill to the House floor and pass it with mostly Democratic votes, but his colleagues on the right side of the aisle don’t seem perturbed about it in the least.
“I’ve actually been really proud of Speaker Boehner over the last two and a half weeks. I don’t think he should be ashamed of anything he has done,” says Representative Raul Labrador, who made the remarks at the “Conversations With Conservatives” lunch.
“I would give him an ‘A.’ I think he’s done a very good job over the last few weeks,” says Representative Tom McClintock.
While some on the right have been sniping about peripheral issues, Boehner largely embraced the playbook put together by conservatives like Senators Ted Cruz, who wanted to use the continuing-resolution bill to wage a fight over Obamacare.
So now that the fight has been lost, it’s not Boehner whom they blame, but the GOP’s moderates, who pushed to end the government shutdown earlier.
“Actually I think the speaker stood up and said ‘this is what we’re going to do.’ I remember at conference on Thursday he said ‘there’s only one way out of this, and that’s to win.’ Well, that’s not the way it ended up,” says Representative Tim Huelskamp.
“But it’s pretty hard when he has a circle of 20 people that step up every day and say, ‘can we surrender today, Mr. Speaker? Can we just go away? Can we make it easy?’ I mean, whining and whining. I would say surrender caucus, but it’s a whiner caucus. And all they do is whine about the battle, as if they thought being elected to Washington was going to be an easy job,” he says.
When Boehner brings the bill to the floor, it could easily fail to garner the support of a majority of the GOP conference – private estimates from lawmakers range from 40 GOP “yes” votes to 120.
That raises the uncomfortable spectre of Boehner violating the so-called “Hastert rule,” an informal precept requiring support from the “majority of the majority” that has been wielded as an effective political tool by the Right in certain contexts.
Conservatives, including a group of senior conservatives that privately huddled after the Republican Study Committee meeting, declined to comment specifically on whether they approve of Boehner violating the Hastert rule on the vote.
But they were clear that, despite rumors to the contrary, there is no movement afoot to unseat the speaker.
“Absolutely no talk of anything along those lines. No talk,” former Republican Study Committee chairman Jim Jordan says.
“It almost seems like any time Boehner does anything people say ‘oh, his speakership’s on the line.’ Those conversations are just not happening as far as guys like him can tell or I can tell,” adds Representative Ron DeSantis, a freshman congressman from Florida.