“I’m just a happy warrior,” said Speaker John Boehner, as he made his way into the Capitol this morning. Most reporters were surprised by his upbeat remark, especially as a government shutdown looms. But a few hours later, the reason for his good spirits, at least for the moment, became clear: House Republicans are united behind his latest fiscal strategy.
As Jonathan Strong reports, the House GOP rallied behind Boehner at a closed-door conference meeting, following his pledge to pass a continuing resolution later today that delays Obamacare for one year and repeals the medical-device tax. The House is also expected to pass a bill that keeps the military funded during a shutdown, should the Senate kill the House’s bill.
The meeting was full of rah-rah Republican talk. Boehner unveiled his strategy, and it was immediately whipped with a show of hands. House whip Kevin McCarthy spoke about how Republicans “control our own destiny,” and reminded members that the press and political organizations don’t run Congress or dictate the House’s strategy. He also quoted Winston Churchill, and the broad sentiment was “to fight on,” and hope Senate Democrats splinter.
“It’s the right thing for America,” Representative Louie Gohmert (R., Texas) told me as he left the meeting. “The support for Boehner was total,” said Representative Tom Cole (R., Okla.). “The speaker is doing the best he can,” added Representative Justin Amash (R., Mich.).
Boehner’s CR legislation is expected to pass. But, for now, Boehner doesn’t have a plan beyond passing this resolution and waiting to see what happens. Some members privately say a one-week CR may be Boehner’s next move, but no one is sure he’ll choose that option, since the pressure from the right to stand firm will be strong. “He didn’t mention it, but I’m sure he could if he wanted to,” Cole said. Gohmert, though, warned Boehner to sit pat after the House passes its revised CR: “Hope he doesn’t do that; that’d be a problem.”
In the meantime, timing is key. The leadership wants to keep conservatives on its side, and it wants to avoid a shutdown, but the clock is ticking.