John Boehner

To Be Absolutely Frank

Dear Mr. Speaker

By 9.29.15

Three years ago, in November of 2012, it was suggested here in this space that Speaker John Boehner be replaced. (Note: The article was re-run as a Flasback yesterday.) The suggestion was to replace him with an “outsider” as the Speaker of the House does not have to be a sitting member of the House. The outsider suggested was Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. The main point, however, was well beyond Speaker Boehner. The point, to quote again, was that too many Republicans are Fords (as in Gerald, a Boehner predecessor as House GOP Leader) and not Reagans.

Over the weekend, the Speaker took to the airwaves of CBS and decried what he called “false prophets” in the GOP, including, presumably, his own caucus. He alluded to his recent speech in which he called Senator Ted Cruz a “jackass.” CNN reported his Face the Nation interview this way (bold print for emphasis supplied):

Meadows Challenges Boehner…Maybe

By on 7.29.15 | 5:06PM

Apparently, we're on this merry-go-round again.

It's the Senate that's causing all the trouble, but the House has decided it can't fathom not being the center of bad attention. As a showdown nears over the Export-Import bank and its connection to highway refinancing, Rep. Mark Meadows has filed a really out-of-place motion calling for ousting Speaker Boehner, even though pretty much no one but Mark Meadows thinks it's a good idea.

Oh well. Regardless, here we go again

North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows had heard from leading conservatives that trying to oust Speaker John Boehner right now was a bad idea.

John Boehner Wants You To Up Your Fashion Game

By on 2.25.15 | 7:21PM

He might have the unenviable task of providing the backbone to Republicans, after Mitch McConnell all but gave away the farm in the Senate, but John Boehner has more important things on his mind today than whether the TSA will have the money necessary to keep them in blue surgical gloves for the forseeable future. 

John Boehner wants you - yes, you, newly elected member of Congress - to start looking like you belong here. He's not naming names, but you know who you are, sweatpants afficionados.

During the final vote series of the day, Boehner reiterated the rules for proper behavior on the House floor. Boehner, who is known for ribbing lawmakers and reporters for their attire, has made reminding members of House rules a regular practice.

Many lawmakers frequently wear jeans or casual shoes to the House floor, particularly during the first vote series of the week that are usually close to dinnertime.

Boehner Not Worried About DHS Shutdown

By on 2.16.15 | 1:26PM

I'm about to embark on a West Coast jaunt, so naturally, Congress is about to make travel slightly more difficult and confusing by hanging the Department of Homeland Security's fate in the balance twoards the end of the month. Now, granted, the TSA will still get more than the required funding necessary to paw through my unmentionables in front of a handful of weary travelers at an ungodly morning hour, but I'm sure that, by the end of next week, literally everyone will be losing their respective minds over the prospect of DHS losting its funding, rendering the general public even less capable of handling basic instructions like put your shoes directly on the conveyor belt.

John Boehner Keeps His Speaker Slot

By on 1.6.15 | 1:51PM

Expect more bills outlawing taxes on tanning.

By a vote that went almost exactly as expected (although who saw Yoho totally pulling a #YOLO and voting for himself?), John Boehner will remain speaker of the house. He lost 25 votes, which was dangerously, yet not incredibly close to the 29 needed to unseat him. It is entirely possible that had opposition shored up behind a candidate that did not co-sponsor a "Birther bill" (or, for that matter, behind any one candidate at all), or started courting support earlier than three days ago, John Boehner would not be Speaker of the House. Alas, Boehner's tears today will be tears of relief. 

You may now commence airing your righteous anger and/or your excitement at the total badassness of the recently-released Coachella lineup in the comments section. 

House Debates Useless Pro-Optics Border Bill

By on 8.1.14 | 3:06PM

Yesterday it seemed Republican Party unity was breaking down when its leadership pulled an immigration reform bill from the House floor. The removal of the bill caused consternation from both sides as members were slated to leave on their August recess.

As debate this morning began, members of the Democratic minority were lining up to play watchdog. Streaming live on C-Span, the House minority leader, Congressman Steny Hoyer, came out in full force attacking the GOP. He slammed Republicans for suspending regular order to push the bill through and called it a political stunt.

“It’s mid-morning and we still haven’t seen the bill,” he stated, forgetting all about how Obamacare was rammed through at the last minute.

Congressman Peter DeFazio decried the fact there was no funding for firefighters as fire rages in the western states. Forget that the bill is supposed to be about immigration and actual people who are suffering. Politics always comes first on Capitol Hill.

Congressman Joe Garcia tore into Senator Ted Cruz on the House floor, accusing him of meddling in the House’s business and blaming him for the bill’s failure.

Boehner Says No to Impeachment

By on 7.29.14 | 4:29PM

As the executive branch continues to grow and issue orders that sound more like edicts, bypassing Congress in the process, many on the right are growing frustrated. Some have compared President Obama to a dictator. As the frustration increased, so did rumors of the threat of impeachment, stirred by emails from the DCCC and the White House to potential donors. Today Speaker John Boehner quashed that talk.

According to the Washington Times:

“We have no plans to impeach the president. We have no future plans,” Mr. Boehner said. “Listen, it’s all a scam started by Democrats at the White House.”

These are the same Democrats who pushed the “birther” conspiracies, which some on the right still ridiculously hang onto. The Democrats have been using their own talk of impeachment to further their fundraising goals:

To Be Absolutely Frank

Boehner’s Lawsuit Against Obama Is Just a Feint

By 6.27.14

So what’s with John Boehner’s newfound love of litigation? The speaker announced yesterday that he will ask the House to initiate a lawsuit against the president over his refusal to enforce the laws Congress has passed. That’s something the Wall Street Journal and George Will have both suggested, and it’s not a crazy idea.

First, the House likely has standing to bring an action. In 1990 a federal court held that a group of congressmen could not bring an action over George H.W. Bush’s failure to comply with the 1974 War Powers Resolution, but left open whether the House as a whole had standing. More recently, the House litigated the Defense of Marriage Act after the Obama administration declined to defend — and it would almost certainly have standing to litigate the president’s right to disregard litigation.


Knocking Cantor Off His Tightrope

By 6.12.14

Let’s play a parlor game. Quick: What words come to mind when you think of the House political leadership?

For John Boehner, you’d probably say “country club” or “insider.” Paul Ryan would conjure up “wonk” or “budget.” “Motherhood” or “pro-life” would suffice for Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

What about Eric Cantor? He’s the second-most powerful Republican congressman and, before Tuesday, was likely the next speaker of the House of Representatives. Yet adjectives and nouns don’t exactly plummet from the clouds when his name is mentioned. And while you might dislike Boehner’s or Ryan’s personas, they at least have public identities that they’ve owned and embraced.

With Cantor you can rack your brain for hours, and chances are you'll come up with only one felicitous descriptor: ambitious. Whatever mysteries swirled around Cantor, we know that he had boundless ambition, to the point of possibly challenging Boehner for the speaker’s gavel. And that was his biggest problem. Eric Cantor desperately wanted to lead the people's house, but he never gave the people any reason to support him.

Boehner and Company Circle the Wagons

By on 5.29.14 | 5:49PM

Since the beginning of his speakership, John Boehner has been trying to find a middle ground between his conservative flank in the form of the Tea Party and the GOP's more moderate faction. Boehner has become known for an unusual style of leadership, described as hands-off and willing to let the groups fight. A new story from Politico, however, indicates that his method might be changing.

Back in 2012, Boehner faced a very rowdy and heated caucus when it came to his re-election as speaker of the House. Nine Republicans voted for someone else while Congressman Steve Stockman voted present. Both Congressman Mick Mulvaney and Congressman Raul Labrador refused to vote. This revolt by members of his own party slightly embarrassed the speaker as he narrowly avoided a second ballot: he received 220 votes, barely enough to cross the necessary 218 threshold.