Speaker Boehner pushes for budget deal before leaving House

26 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Boehner is running out of time to raise the debt ceiling.

WASHINGTON — Speaker John Boehner is trying to make one last deal as he heads for the exits, pushing to finalize a far-reaching, two-year budget agreement before handing Congress’ top job over to Paul Ryan this week, congressional officials said Monday. It was a guideline to future speakers, a warning really about how to manage a fractious group of Members of the majority, no matter what party they are in.WASHINGTON (AP) — The honeymoon might be over before it even begins for House Speaker-in-waiting Paul Ryan when he is elevated to the top job this week. The deal, in concert with a must-pass increase in the federal borrowing limit, would solve the thorniest issues awaiting Ryan, who is set to be elected speaker on Thursday. Denny Hastert, my former boss, believed that you couldn’t rely on the minority to get things done if you were in the majority and he worked very, very hard to get his Conference united on most policy goals.

The ambitious accord, which is being negotiated by top House, Senate and White House officials, would boost defense and non-defense spending by $50 billion next year, and $30 billion the year after, split evenly between defense and non-defense programs. The Wisconsin Republican, on track to prevail in secret-ballot GOP elections Wednesday and in a full House vote Thursday, would take over at a moment of chaos notable even for a Congress where crisis has become routine. It would also take budget showdowns and government shutdown fights off the table until after the 2016 presidential election, a potential boon to Republican candidates who might otherwise face uncomfortable questions about messes in the GOP-led Congress. A cap on premium hikes for Medicare Part B beneficiaries — sought by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) but initially rejected by the White House — would also be included. It’s all happening amid fierce fighting among Republicans, on Capitol Hill and in the presidential campaign, as angry voters demand change and establishment-aligned politicians do battle with outsiders and hard-liners.

Details were sketchy but the tentative pact anticipates designating increases for the Pentagon as emergency war funds that can be made exempt from budget caps. I have written in the past that the Hastert rule was only a guideline and that every Speaker has to do things differently given the dynamics of in the House. Labrador, R-Idaho, one of the most persistent thorns in Boehner’s side, “a RINO establishment lap dog” and “another go-along to get along phony who will GLADLY step on the throats of the Conservative electorate.” Things may never be the same for the Freedom Caucus after most of its members moved last week to support Rep.

The budget deal is aimed at funding the government beyond a Dec. 11 deadline while also lifting onerous caps on military spending, a GOP priority, and on domestic programs, a goal sought by Democrats. John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced his resignation under conservative pressure, and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., abruptly bowed out of competition for Boehner’s job. Lawmakers hoped to address two other key issues as well: a shortfall looming next year in Social Security payments to the disabled and a large increase for many retirees in Medicare premiums for doctors’ visits and other outpatient care.

Just days are left for the deal to come together before Ryan, R-Wisconsin, is elected on Thursday to replace Boehner, R-Ohio, who is leaving Congress under pressure from conservative lawmakers disgusted with his history of seeking compromise and Democratic votes on issues like the budget. I believed that John Boehner had no choice but to get bipartisan support on big bills like extending the debt limit, enacting the fiscal cliff and passing the so-called cromnibus.

Now Ryan, the GOP’s 2012 vice presidential nominee, will face immediate — and perhaps competing — tasks: passing must-do debt and spending bills likely to be opposed by a majority of Republicans, even while he attempts to unite a badly fractured House GOP. “I don’t know that it’s going to be the honeymoon suite. The groundswell of support from hard-core conservative voters that emboldened the group as it battled Boehner and the GOP establishment seemed to subside for the first time in months.

That has put its members in the unfamiliar position of defending their right flank. “Look, I imagine that there’s theoretically a chance that (we) all went from being radical extremist crazies to Washington sellouts in 12 hours,” said Rep. They did this because they wanted to avoid potential primary battles, but mostly they did it because they didn’t want to get grief back home and from unseemly characters like Mark Levin. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., a Freedom Caucus leader. “But maybe a more likely narrative is that we really think that this is a good step for the conservative movement. But Salmon and other Republicans said Ryan would get leeway for how he navigates the immediate crises he inherits, including the debt ceiling, if it’s not dealt with before he assumes the speakership. “If we get six months down the road and nothing’s really changed, if we get eight months down the road and nothing’s really changed, then I think it’s, ‘Everybody needs to get a helmet’ time,’ ” said GOP Rep.

And it’s up to us to try to explain that to people, and that’s what we’ve been doing.” The anger over Ryan’s ascent has been fueled by voices across the conservative media landscape. Mark Amodei of Nevada. “There’s a reason John Boehner decided to resign.” After announcing his surprise plans last month to leave Congress on Oct. 30, Boehner expressed a desire to “clean the barn” of messy must-pass legislation, rather than leave it for his successor. On the Internet, sites such as Breitbart.com and the Drudge Report have pumped out a steady stream of anti-Ryan stories casting doubt on his record, while such prominent commentators as Erick Erickson, Ann Coulter and Mickey Kaus have sharpened their teeth and urged conservatives to contact lawmakers and tell them to spurn Ryan. It isn’t fun to be a Peter King or a Hal Rogers or a Devin Nunes or a Charlie Dent, Members who are trying to do the right thing for the country and for their constituents and follow their leaders by taking the tough votes.

Particularly brutal have been the syndicated talk-radio hosts who have helped foment the anti-establishment outrage that has kept Donald Trump atop the GOP presidential race and forced Jeb Bush, a well-financed mainstream conservative, to undertake a campaign shake-up. But Boehner has yet to announce his approach, after leadership backtracked on tentative plans to get the ball rolling with legislation linking a debt limit increase to deep spending cuts and a balanced budget plan.

Laura Ingraham last week called Ryan “basically John Boehner with better abs” and featured segment after segment attacking Ryan’s positions on trade and immigration. Now, though GOP leaders won’t yet say so, it seems inevitable that the House will end up voting on a “clean” debt ceiling increase devoid of spending cuts or other attempts at reform. Another influential host, Mark Levin, lambasted Ryan as a creature of the establishment elite. “I think it’s time, ladies and gentlemen, to choose a speaker from outside the House of Representatives,” he told his audience Wednesday. “This is the best the Republican establishment can do; it’s just not good enough.” And the biggest conservative talker of them all, Rush Limbaugh, on Thursday called Ryan a favorite of the Republican “donor class” and “the new Cantor” – a reference to former House majority leader Eric Cantor, who was ousted last year in a GOP primary. If a deal comes together, it would have to pass the House with overwhelmingly Democratic support, as conservative Republicans are unlikely to support an agreement.

Dave Brat, R-Va., – counts himself among the roughly 70 percent of Freedom Caucus members who say they are willing to support Ryan. “When they make decisions, it’s not in haste,” Brat said of the caucus. “And so I would ask the American people: Hold your fire. It’s a situation certain to provoke howls from the GOP base, especially if it ends up being the first item on a newly installed Speaker Ryan’s to-do list. Wait till you see exactly what our group is doing, and I think you’ll see that it’s coherent, it makes sense.” One problem for Brat and his Freedom Caucus colleagues is that Ryan has remained mum for the most part on his intentions.

When he spoke to the House Republican Conference on Tuesday, Ryan set out conditions for agreeing to serve as speaker, including an end to the House rule allowing a speaker to be ousted by a simple majority. In case you think this is some abstract worry that will have no impact on the American people, a paper on the “dominoes of default” from the centrist think tank Third Way will disabuse you of that. He opted instead for gauzy generalities: “We can make the House a more open and inclusive body – one where every member can contribute to the legislative process. The latter has proven to be especially toxic for Ryan in conservative circles, to the point that his chief partner in pushing reform legislation, Rep. Don’t say anything at all about Paul Ryan!’ “ “There’s a small group that wields an inordinate influence and power over the group,” Gutierrez added. “They are slaves and captives to Laura Ingraham.” Meadows said on Thursday that he and like-minded members were more concerned that Ryan might have made contradictory pledges to different groups while courting support last week.

Daniel Webster, R-Fla., a backbencher who has emphasized procedural reforms. “If you’ve got problems with a man today, and the man tells you, ‘Tomorrow, I’ll be a different person’ – it doesn’t happen,” said Rep. Commentators and activists might be exercised about Ryan’s immigration positions, they say, but lawmakers are more focused on how he’ll run the House. Ken Buck, R-Colo., said calls to his office were running 2 to 1 against Ryan, but he said passions were at “a much lower level” than after he voted for Boehner in January.

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