After nearly five years, Boehner could never land the 'big deal' he wanted | us news

After nearly five years, Boehner could never land the ‘big deal’ he wanted

26 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A look at Speaker Boehner’s career in Congress.

Richmond, Va. Speaker John Boehner’s Friday announcement that he will step down at the end of October appears to give the California Republican that inside track — especially since popular Ways and Means Chairman and 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan says he’s not interested.

WASHINGTON — From a political career that started on the Union Township, Ohio, Board of Trustees, John Boehner rose to second in line to succeed the president.WASHINGTON—House Speaker John Boehner, long under fire from conservatives within his own party, announced Friday he will resign on Oct. 30, weakened by an antiestablishment sentiment sweeping the Republican Party nationally that helped bring an abrupt end to his quarter-century career in Congress.

“Let’s stop fighting with each other,” the former presidential candidate and now symbol of mainstream Republicanism said during a visit to a conservative gathering Friday. “Let’s sit down together and work out our differences with a common agenda to elect the next president of the United States, keep our majorities in the House and Senate, and put the brakes on this internecine strife.” Boehner’s surprising decision on Friday to resign sparked widespread celebration within the conservative movement. While McCarthy himself had not said as of Friday night what he will do and at least one other House Republican, Dan Webster of Florida, has already tossed his hat into the race, several rank and file members listed McCarthy as the obvious successor. The Ohio Republican, stunning his colleagues, said he didn’t want to put the House through a tumultuous vote on his speakership, and instead, he’ll leave Washington after 25 years and allow his party to pick a new successor in his absence.

Kevin McCarthy has risen to the upper reaches of House leadership mostly on the basis of his people skills and political smarts rather than his policy chops. When Marco Rubio announced the speaker’s retirement from the stage at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, activists whooped and hollered in approval. “What a great day for America,” David Bossie, president of Citizens United, gushed. And Boehner added his endorsement McCarthy might not be the first choice of restive party hard-liners who chronically attacked Boehner as speaker, but the 50-year-old he does enjoy the advantages of leadership incumbency, a well-funded leadership PAC that he’s used to help the elect the members who will be voting for him, and time spent building relationships throughout the Republican conference. Quick trivia question: when was the last time a speaker’s tenure did not end in sudden resignation, because the speaker lost reelection, or because his/her party lost a majority of seats in the House?

The announcement came one day after a high point of Boehner’s 25-year congressional career, a historic speech by Pope Francis to the Republican-controlled Congress at Boehner’s request. Conservatives had been circling with threats of a fresh coup attempt — a showdown he felt he could win, but one he and his allies thought would do serious harm to the institution.

Movement leaders and activists see the downfall of the House speaker as a coup that’s been years in the making—and one whose momentum they hope will now yield not only more rigidly conservative leadership in Congress butalso a Republican presidential nomineewho is one of their own. For nearly six years — first as Republican whip and then as majority leader — I met with John on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis as we worked to lead the House Republican Conference. But for all his grumbling over the down-and-out fights, the capitulations to rowdy right-wingers, and the “spineless” and “squish” insults, Boehner for five years had stuck it out, scoring a series of wins and maintaining his chain-smoking, merlot-swigging charm. But they won’t change the unpleasant reality of the limits the tea party-driven House confronts in a capital city dominated by a Democratic president — and the resulting frustration for conservatives who stormed Washington on a wave of opposition to President Barack Obama. It is no secret that we had different styles and personalities, but he was always selfless, a man who put the nation, his constituents, the House of Representatives and the party before himself.

Only one of McCarthy’s seven predecessors in the House’s No. 2 leadership perch — John Boehner — has gone on to take the gavel, and even Boehner’s path was not a direct one. Boehner’s resignation coincides with a rise in GOP primary voters’ anger toward Washington, which has catapulted outsider candidates including Donald Trump in the early stages of the presidential race. Boehner dismissed the threat of a floor vote from conservatives on whether he could continue as speaker if he didn’t comply, a formal challenge that hadn’t happened in over 100 years. But conservatives frustrated with Boehner’s willingness to strike deals with Democrats see an ally in McCarthy, who cut his teeth as an aide to powerful former Rep.

The Republicans’ ascendence into the House majority has been accompanied by revved-up intra-party warfare and turbulence, and deteriorating reverence for the committee system and seniority. March 2015: Engineered with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi an extraordinary bipartisan accord that let both parties claim credit for strengthening the finances of the costly Medicare health care program, in particular, doctors’ fees.

Fully 80 percent of Republican primary voters who called themselves very conservative or talk-radio listeners said they were dissatisfied with Boehner and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell. “I’m angry,” said former Arkansas Gov. In fact, since 1989, when Democrat Tom Foley ascended from majority leader to the speakership (his election to that post by colleagues came after an ethics scandal caused Speaker Jim Wright to step down), it has become rare indeed for anyone to duplicate his trajectory from being No. 2 to No. 1. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., among those who helped push Boehner out. “It’s fair to say that if Kevin were to run he would be able to draw votes from across the conference.” In the hours after Boehner’s shocking announcement, McCarthy stayed quiet, but GOP lawmakers said he was a likely bet to win the top job.

Mike Huckabee.“Republicans aren’t doing anything different in the majority as they were doing in the minority.” Even Rubio, whomany see as a potential alternative to Jeb Bush among more establishment-friendly Republicans, sought to appeal to that huge segment of the angry-with-Washington electorate. The subsequent majority leaders who did not move up are Democrat Dick Gephardt; Republicans Dick Armey, Tom Delay, and Roy Blunt; Democrat Steny Hoyer; and Republican Eric Cantor, prevented from succeeding Boehner by his ignominious defeat last year in a Virginia Republican primary for his congressional seat. Unlike Boehner or previous Democratic speakers like Tom Foley of Washington or Jim Wright of Texas, McCarthy has never chaired a committee — and lacks a signature legislative accomplishment like the No Child Left Behind education law that Boehner help shepherd through Congress during President George W. ThoughRubiosaid he wasn’t “here to bash” Boehner,the Florida senator said, “The time has come to turn the page and allow a new generation of leaders.” As the polling numbers of Republican outsiders have soared—led by Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina—the rest of the field is trying to tap into the anti-Washington energy that is coursing through the Republican electorate and that hamstrung Boehner, even as he led Republicans to their biggest House majority in almost a century.

None of the three speakers since Foley — other than Boehner, Newt Gingrich, Hastert, and Democrat Nancy Pelosi of California, the current minority leader –ever served as a majority leader. His announcement capped a Capitol Hill career, beginning in January 1991, that elevated the son of a bar owner to one of the most powerful elected officials in the country. Boehner said that his No. 2, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was so shocked when he broke the news to him Friday morning, that Boehner had to tell him “about five times” because he couldn’t believe it. The job involves scheduling legislation for floor action, setting the weekly and annual legislative agendas, gauging the sentiment of caucus or conference members, and in more recent years, being a visible messenger for the party’s positions, or even an attack dog.

This competition also encourages members of the minority party to go after majority party leaders –even the speaker — in the hopes of tarnishing the majority party’s reputation. McCarthy has been a loyal lieutenant to Boehner, for instance, backing up the outgoing speaker’s plan to remove a controversy over “defunding” Planned Parenthood from a stopgap spending bill that’s needed to avoid a government shutdown next week. Boehner, one of 12 siblings, frequently discussed his own unlikely journey from his blue-collar Ohio upbringing to the helm of Washington power, often leaking a few emotional tears that became a trademark of his appearances. Sept-Oct. 2013: In a low point for the speaker, conservatives ignored his advice and embraced a politically disastrous strategy of partially shutting down the government for 16 days in a futile effort to force repeal of Obama’s new health care law.

Those 70 years included some memorable speakers who first served as majority leaders, such as Foley, James Wright, Tip O’Neill, Carl Albert, John McCormick, Sam Rayburn, Henry Rainey, Joseph Byrns, William Bankhead, and Nicholas Longworth. But McCarthy parted ways with Boehner in early 2013 on a vote to increase tax rates on wealthier filers and, more recently, sided with conservatives who made a cause celebre of opposing the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance purchases of U.S. exports by foreign buyers.

Boehner was unable to muster the Republican votes to support a compromise reached with Obama. “God only knows” how a deal can be reached now, Boehner declared before heading out for the holidays. But when the so-called “Gingrich revolution” ended some 40 years of Democratic Party dominance over the House in 1995 and Foley’s own departure that year after he failed to win re-election in his Washington state district, the predictable leadership succession ended. As this “politics by other means” (as Ben Ginsberg and Martin Shefter called it) has become part of congressional life, they pose a peril for any speaker with something to hide. Second, despite their incredibly high levels of voting unity, congressional Republicans have often been deeply divided, not only ideologically but also — and perhaps more so — over tactics and strategy.

But Boehner has had some significant victories, including the landmark trade legislation that Congress passed earlier this year, as well as changes to entitlement programs. Boehner’s departure against centrist Republicans incensed by the right flank’s role in curtailing the speaker’s tenure. “The honor of John Boehner today stands in sharp contrast to the self-serving idiocy of those in our party who continue to seek to divide us,” said Rep. And his party never reclaimed the majority before he announced he would not run again for that job in 2002, and Pelosi was chosen to succeed him as minority leader.

Now that he doesn’t have internal political considerations to weigh, Boehner is certain to push through a government-funding bill next week that funds Planned Parenthood and keeps the government open. “I have been doing this for 27 years, and this is the most selfless act that I have ever seen,” said Rep. Last year, the unexpected defeat of then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., in a GOP primary opened up the No. 2 post, and McCarthy grabbed that, too. They took to the airwaves and the Internet and pronounced that congressional Republicans could undo the president’s agenda — with him still in office, mind you — and enact into law a conservative vision for government, without compromise.

Hastert vaulted from chief deputy whip after the Republicans’ first choice, Bob Livingston, has to resign before even claiming the post because of a sex scandal. During his second term as speaker he was threatened by a coup that involved several conservative “true believers” from the class of 1994 (as well as John Boehner, ironically). Boehner said he told his chief of staff late Thursday that he might announce his resignation on Friday. “I might make an announcement tomorrow,” he told his wife on Thursday night. Strangely, according to these voices, the only reason that was not occurring had nothing to do with the fact that the president was unlikely to repeal his own laws, or that under the Constitution, absent the assent of the president or two-thirds of both houses of Congress, you cannot make law.

The House, however, would be run by Boehner and a Republican caucus determined to undo much of the Democrats’ work starting with Obama’s signature health care overhaul. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), a former member of leadership who has clashed with Boehner, had similarly kind words. “He has a long record of distinguished service but it’s time for new leadership,” said Rep.

Inside leadership, McCarthy’s accessibility and open-mindedness has won him friends in all corners of the GOP conference and he’s more popular among junior lawmakers than Boehner. “He is a savant of human relationships and that makes him somewhat unique,” said Rep. Washington wants conservatives splintered,”Cruz said Friday. “They want a chunk of evangelicals over here, a chunk of conservatives over here, a chunk of libertarians over here, a chunk of tea party folks over here. But in 2005, DeLay was indicted in 2005 by a Texas grand jury on a conspiracy charge stemming from a campaign finance investigation, forcing him to cede his leadership post—temporarily, he said at the time—to Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri. Nov 2010: Led the charge against pork-barrel projects known as “earmarks” for several years before House Republicans formally agreed to a two-year prohibition of the legislative provisions that funnel money to lawmakers’ favorite projects, often in their districts. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., who admits their relationship has had ups and downs. “The reason he’s so successful with the members is he knows their districts in addition to knowing them,” said Erica Elliott, a former aide and confidante. “Kevin knows 100 percent of the time exactly where the conference is.” “I’ll tell Kevin, if he’s the next speaker, that his number-one responsibility is to protect the institution.

I wonder what they would have said, if during the last two years of President Bush’s term, the Democratic congressional majority had tried something similar. It was then that Boehner, who had been a Republican Conference chair under the Gingrich regime but lost that leadership spot in 1998, won the support of his colleagues for the majority leader’s post, narrowly outmaneuvering Blunt.

But given how competitive Congress has become, and how divided the GOP seems to be, I expect he will end up worrying more about how long he’ll get to keep the speaker’s job. Promised a steady hand and changes for Republicans tinged by election-year scandal. 2001: Worked throughout the year as the Education Committee’s chairman with liberal Democrats, including Massachusetts Sen. Boehner after learning of his plans to resign. “We have obviously had a lot of disagreements, and politically we’re at different ends of the spectrum,” Mr. Leadership now plays a much stronger and direct role in setting the agenda and negotiating legislative measures, usurping some of the chairmen’s previous domain.

In March, he switched from his opposition to term limits of service in Congress. 1991: Was ringleader of the so-called Gang of Seven House freshmen who pressed for strict ethical behavior from then-majority Democrats and insisted on public disclosure of those who had overdrafts at the House bank. 1990: First elected to the House at age 40, after winning the 8th District’s Republican primary that ousted a scandal-marred Donald “Buz” Lukens. In the aftermath of Wright’s resignation, hyperpartisanship seemed to take hold, leading to heightened gridlock in Congress that many subsequent speakers have fought to break loose. After two terms of President Obama, an economy that is growing too slowly and a retrenchment of American power abroad, the conservative to-do list for the next Republican president is quite long. Republicans have grappled over how to respond to undercover videos released this summer showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing fees for procuring fetal tissue for medical researchers.

Boehner from the pressure to mollify conservatives, most immediately freeing him to bring up a short-term bill to avert a shutdown and keep the government funded through Dec. 11 without fear of a leadership challenge. He accelerated his departure to spare the House the spectacle of a difficult vote on whether to keep him as speaker just months before he planned to leave. “I don’t want my members to go through this,” Mr.

Boehner told reporters. “This turmoil that’s been churning now for a couple of months is not good for the members, and it’s not good for the institution.” Rep. Boehner’s resignation, his announcement angered centrist Republicans who said GOP leaders have paid too much heed to lawmakers more interested in symbolic protests than in governing. “The next speaker has to accept the reality of his or her governing circumstances,” said Rep. He immediately joined a rebel faction known as the “Gang of Seven,’’ which drew media attention to a scandal involving the bank for House members.

Boehner appeared relieved to announce his departure Friday, even breaking into song briefly and reiterating the maxims that have shaped his philosophy. “I was never in the legacy business,” said Mr.

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