House Republican Conference

Among growing dissent, Boehner braces for re-election

Speaker Boehner

House leadership elections will be held later today, amid growing concern among conservatives for John Boehner’s leadership as Speaker. The hard truth for conservatives is that it looks like Boehner will eke out a victory over any would-be conservative challenger. In the 114th Congress (this one), the Republican caucus has swelled by more than a dozen Members, making victory from the right close to impossible.

In the 113th Congress, Boehner faced uncertainty when his safe Republican margin was almost totally diminished by a handful of defectors — conservatives like Raul Labrador, Thomas Massie, and Justin Amash. The blog FiveThirtyEight revealed the Republican defection in 2013 was the largest act of defiance against an incoming Speaker since at least 1991, where records became available.

With the Republican caucus even larger, it would take 29 votes to stop John Boehner from becoming Speaker — and then the defectors would have to find a viable alternative. Names being floated now are Ted Yoho or Florida and Louie Gohmert of Texas.

Among UL readers, South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy has considerable support, but he has not indicated that he would break with party leadership.

House Republicans need a conservative leader, not another milquetoast squish like Kevin McCarthy

Raul Labrador

It appears that the House Republican Conference has learned nothing from Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) stunning defeat on Tuesday. Roll Call reports today that Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) may have enough support to replace Cantor, who will step down on July 31.

McCarthy isn’t an improvement over Cantor. If a majority of the House Republican Conference pick him, it will be an endorsement of the status quo — unprincipled, milquetoast leadership that, more often than not, ignores the grassroots.

Sure, Republicans talk a good game on the campaign trail. They say they believe in limited government and freedom on the stump. But when they get back to Washington, they kowtow to K Street. Suddenly, as Stephen Slivinski once said, they no longer look at the nation’s capital as a cesspool, but treat it like a jacuzzi.

There is, however, an alternative to McCarthy, who, as explained yesterday, has a terrible record on fiscal and constitutional issues.

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), a liberty-minded Republican, announced just moments ago that he will challenge McCarthy for the top leadership post when the House Republican Conference holds its leadership election Thursday, June 19. Which, by the way, will be conducted by secret ballot.

“I was stunned when Eric Cantor lost his primary election earlier this week. Eric is a good friend and I have tremendous respect for him,” Labrador said in a press release. “But the message from Tuesday is clear – Americans are looking for a change in the status quo.”

7 Reasons Why Kevin McCarthy Shouldn’t Replace Eric Cantor

John Boehner, Kevin McCarthy, and Eric Cantor

Republicans were jockeying for position to move up on the ladder before Eric Cantor (R-VA), who lost his primary bid in a shocking upset on Tuesday night, announced that he would step down from his post as House Majority Leader at the end of July.

But with the leadership election scheduled for Thursday, June 19, several names are being kicked around to replace Cantor, among them is current Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

Yeah, no. That’s a terrible idea.

McCarthy has been in lock-step with Cantor, who endorsed him yesterday, and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). He’s essentially the status quo. Nothing will change in the House if McCarthy becomes the next Majority Leader. It would be a politically tone deaf move for House Republicans to choose a carbon copy of Cantor to lead their conference.

And here are some reasons why.

Conservative Rebel Alliance a huge threat to Republican Empire: GOP freaking out over potential challenger to Boehner

John Boehner

All may have been forgiven last year after nine Republicans voted against John Boehner’s (R-OH) close reelection for Speaker of the House. But Politico reports that his supporters are planning to punish any member of the House Republican Conference who votes against him at the beginning of the next Congress (emphasis added):

Boehner’s friends are trying to make sure that a small pocket of tea-party-aligned Republicans won’t have a chance to derail his speakership next year. And if they try, they could be punished.

A group of his closest allies — including fellow Ohio Republicans like Pat Tiberi — are discussing tactics such as trying to change GOP Conference rules to punish members who do not support the party’s nominee during a floor vote. A lawmaker who bucks the Republicans’ choice for speaker could lose committee assignments — or worse. Boehner’s allies have already stripped some Republicans of their committee assignments for straying too far from the team.

In a sign of force, some of Boehner’s friends are considering releasing a letter with the names of several dozen GOP lawmakers pledging to vote for no one else besides the speaker — making the election of a more conservative rival logistically impossible.

House conservatives looking to oust Boehner

Rumors of a conservative rebellion in the House of Representatives are beginning to get more attention. The Atlantic reports that 40 to 50 Republican members are ready to oust Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and replace him with someone willing to work with conservatives in the ranks:

The conservatives’ exasperation with leadership is well known. And now, in discreet dinners at the Capitol Hill Club and in winding, hypothetical-laced email chains, they’re trying to figure out what to do about it. Some say it’s enough to coalesce behind—and start whipping votes for—a single conservative leadership candidate. Others want to cut a deal with Majority Leader Eric Cantor: We’ll back you for speaker if you promise to bring aboard a conservative lieutenant.

But there’s a more audacious option on the table, according to conservatives involved in the deliberations. They say between 40 and 50 members have already committed verbally to electing a new speaker. If those numbers hold, organizers say, they could force Boehner to step aside as speaker in late November, when the incoming GOP conference meets for the first time, by showing him that he won’t have the votes to be reelected in January.

Rumors of a Republican revolt against Boehner surface once again

This is a familiar tune, one that played loudly in conservative circles before the beginning of the 113th Congress. Unnamed sources claimed that enough House conservatives were going to abstain from backing Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to force him out.

Though several conservatives did abstain from the vote by writing in other names, Boehner was reelected, getting just enough support to avoid a second round. He would go onto tell those in his caucus who voted against him that they wouldn’t be penalized.

Though House Republicans are several months from selecting their candidate for Speaker, which would take place shortly after the mid-term election, Jonathan Strong reports that there is support already building in the caucus to replace Boehner:

Top Republicans are hoping for a happy beginning to the next, 114th Congress, with the GOP taking control of the Senate and forcing President Obama on his heels for the last two years of his term.

But in the House, the clouds are already gathering over the first day of the next session, when the chamber votes to elect a Speaker.

“My sense at the present time that the Speaker doesn’t have the support of the conference,” says South Carolina Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan about John Boehner. Another member of the House privately estimates that 40 Republican lawmakers would vote against Boehner on the floor and says “I’ve seen a running total.”

House GOP uses Obama’s own words against him in new video

President Barack Obama’s infamous pledge — “if you like your health plan, you can keep it” — continues to haunt him. Millions of Americans have found that they were sold a bill based on a very basic premise that has been proven false. His poll numbers have taken a tremendous dive, as a majority of Americans believe him to be dishonest and that opposition to Obamacare is at a record high.

A new video from the House Republican Conference shows a clip of President Obama from early 2010. He was speaking before GOP members of Congress at their retreat in Baltimore and told them that “some stray cats and dogs” got into the bill that “might have violated” the pledge he made to the American people.

“If you look at the package that we’ve presented — and there’s some stray cats and dogs that got in there that we were eliminating, we were in the process of eliminating,” President Obama told Republicans.

“For example, we said from the start that it was going to be important for us to be consistent in saying to people if you can have your — if you want to keep the health insurance you got, you can keep it, that you’re not going to have anybody getting in between you and your doctor in your decision making,” he said. “And I think that some of the provisions that got snuck in might have violated that pledge.”

“And so we were in the process of scrubbing this and making sure that it’s tight,” he added.

House GOP: What will Obama say this year?

President Barack Obama will give the State of the Union address this evening where he will lay out his agenda for the next year. Since taking office in 2009, President Obama has told used the address to sell Americans a big government agenda that has ultimately left the worse off.

As this new video from the House Republican Conference shows, President Obama has made promises during past State of the Union addresses from cutting the deficit in half to ObamaCare not affecting current insurance coverage and reducing costs to enacting an energy policy that reduces our dependence on foreign oil.

Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, all of these promises have been broken — budget deficits have gotten completely out of control, some 7 million are expected to lose their employer-based coverage and costs for coverage have skyrocketed because of ObamaCare, and he has already rejected Keystone XL once to please his radical environmentalist base.

Check out the video below. It’ll make you wonder, given the broken promises of the last four years, what President Obama has in store for tonight:

Tom Price loses Republican leadership bid

Tom Price

As you may have heard, House Republicans met yesterday to elect leadership for the next Congress. While mostly mundane, such as the re-election of John Boehner for House Speaker, there was an interesting race between Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers for chair of the House Republican Conference, an important position that helps communicate the party’s message.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Boehner had offered Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) a deal that would have provided him an appointed leadership position in exchange for him dropping out of the race and pledging loyalty to GOP leadership in the House. Price, one of the more conservative members in the caucus, declined the offer.

Unfortunately, whatever hope conservatives had for a seat in House leadership was ended yesterday as Rogers defeated Price, ensuring an echo-chamber for Boehner in leadership and a sign that House Republicans are willing to deal with Obama.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who chairs the House Budget Committee and is a popular figure in the  conservative movement, reiterated his support for Price in a letter to colleagues. Now, some may dismiss the significance, but Ryan’s involvement made this more than a leadership race between two members, but also against two high-profile Republicans with differing views on how to approach negotiation on the “fiscal cliff” with the White House.

Ryan reiterates support for Price in key House GOP leadership race

Earlier today, I mentioned that Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) had rejected a deal from House Speaker John Boehner that would have given him an appointed leadership position if he withdrew from the race for House Republican Conference chair and promised not to oppose GOP leadership. Boehner’s preferred candidate is apparently Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA) and he’s trying to avoid a potentially divisive fight.

Well, that got a lot more interesting today when Paul Ryan (R-WI), who served as Mitt Romney’s running mate this year and is popular with conservatives, reiterated his support for Price in a letter to colleagues:

In the Dear Colleague obtained by Roll Call, Ryan cites his experience putting together a House Republican budget as proof that Price is “uniquely qualified” to become conference chairman. Ryan is the chairman of the House Budget Committee, on which Price sits.

Price is running against Republican Conference Vice Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. She has touted the endorsements of seven committee chairmen.

Ryan, however, one of the most high-profile figures in the Republican Party, might have the credibility to sway his colleagues into supporting Price. Although he pledged his support to Price this past summer, the duties of running on the presidential ticket trumped congressional politics, and he had not been active in supporting the candidate.

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