highway bill

Your House of Republican Chaos

Speaker Boehner announced his resignation 25 September 2015.

Follow the bouncing something, as the spectacle inside the House GOP seems a performance for the ages. As the factions line up, Speaker Boehner’s allies are scorching the insurgency:

GOP lawmakers who’ve stood by Boehner’s side throughout his rocky five-year tenure as Speaker bitterly blamed the right flank for forcing a contested leadership race less than a year after the party won control of Congress in the 2014 midterm elections.

A fired-up House Ethics Committee Chairman Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), speaking not long after Boehner dropped the bombshell at a Friday conference meeting that he’ll leave Congress at the end of next month, ripped into hard-line conservatives.

He accused them of opposing Boehner at every turn, and noted they have “never had a horse of their own.”

“Any jackass can kick down a barn door. It takes a carpenter to hang one. We need a few more carpenters around here. Everybody knows it,” Dent said off the House floor.

Leadership allies are frustrated by what they see as a repeated exercise in futility.

(Marcos)

And the hardliners posture:

A co-founder of the conservative Freedom Caucus has a warning for any Republican hoping to replace outgoing Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio): No one will get the promotion without our blessing.

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), a sharp critic of Boehner, said Friday that there are roughly 40 members of the group — and another 20 conservatives outside of it — who won’t back any new Speaker who fails their litmus test for conservative purity. And the group’s leadership endorsements, he warned, will be “a collective, corporate decision.”

“We have enough votes in the House Freedom Caucus to prevent anybody from being Speaker. We will be a voting bloc,” Huelskamp said.

“We’re looking for someone who, number one, has conservative principles and actually can articulate them, but also … follows through on John Boehner’s [2011] promise … [to] open up this House and let conservatives have a shot at things,” he added. “And at the end of the day, the Democrats had more shot at amendments than conservatives. So we’ve gotta talk about process as well.”

(Lillis)

And Rep. Daniel Webster (FL-10) pretends his gavel ambitions have a chance of success, while other House players scramble to fall up the ladder.

This is the point at which we are supposed to make some sort of joke about things either starting or ceasing to make sense, and it is our shame to disappoint you; there is no baseline by which the idea of making sense makes any sense.

(more…)

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Becoming a Ritual

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio responds to reporters about the impasse over passing the Homeland Security budget because of Republican efforts to block President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. The House voted last month to end Homeland Security funding on Saturday unless Obama reverses his order to protect millions of immigrants from possible deportation. After Democratic filibusters blocked the bill in the Senate, the chaber's Republican leaders agreed this week to offer a "clean" funding measure, with no immigration strings attached. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Is familiarity a bad thing?

The pieces are now in place for a replay of the GOP’s 2013 shutdown. Cruz is marshaling his House forces; Boehner and his leadership team have no idea how to move forward; and far-right lawmakers have a simple-but-unobtainable goal. The question is whether this time, we should expect a different result.

The beleaguered Speaker told reporters this morning, “The goal here is not to shut down the government. The goal is to stop these horrific practices of organizations selling baby parts.”

As a substantive matter, this is obviously nonsense – “selling baby parts” is illegal, and that’s not at all what Planned Parenthood has done – but as a political matter, is also non-constructive nonsense. If Boehner is serious about averting another GOP-imposed crisis, he probably ought to start being a little more responsible.

Of course, the more responsibly he behaves, the more likely it is the extremists in his conference will try to oust him – so Boehner’s in an unenviable spot.

(Benen)

There was some chatter last month, while Congress was away, in which pundits and analysts wondered whether the GOP would attempt a shutdown. And now that we arrive at this chapter, it seems almost a foolish question: Of course they are.

So here’s the thing: With less than a fortnight’s scheduled legislative through the month of September, Congress has a papal visit slated, as well as routine legislation such as a highway bill and the Export-Import Bank reauthorization that the Republican leadership just can’t seem to accomplish, and the Iran deal, at least, which the House has just broken into three parts in order to do something ostensibly more useful than just making inevitability that much more complicated.

Remember this, as we endure the ascending electoral cycle: When Republicans complain that government just doesn’t work, it would behoove us to check again to make certain it isn’t their own damn fault.

And the results, you know, are starting to look a little too consistent.

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Benen, Steve. “As shutdown deadline draws closer, GOP leaders seem lost”. msnbc. 10 September 2015.