Ted Yoho

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.

Critics call for the opposite of a “clean” deal on debt ceiling

debt ceiling

President Barack Obama has made himself clear: he will not sign a debt ceiling bill unless it’s “clean,” meaning that he will not negotiate.

Under President Obama, the total federal debt increased by 57 percent. Once he took oath, the federal debt stood at $10.6 trillion. The total debt now stands at $16.7 trillion. Under President George W. Bush, the total federal debt rose 38 percent. President Bill Clinton’s term saw a 32 percent increase of the total federal debt.

Due to the current federal debt, critics of this administration’s pursue of an increase in the debt limit have been pressuring lawmakers to ensure that Congress does not allow for an increase. Expanding the amount of money the U.S. can borrow means one thing in the long run: that the money we now have will not be spent on useful programs that need the funding, and that more money will be necessary in order to have some, if any, of what we owe paid back.

Reason’s Nick Gillespie points out in this video for Reason TV that because of the significant growth of the federal government’s net interest payments, the government will have to find a way to obtain more revenue in order to pay some of its debt, which will inevitably lead to a reduction of private investment in productive resources, stifling the economy and keeping potential business owners from dedicating themselves to their ventures.

Obama’s drones program needs some real congressional oversight, and Ted Yoho’s Drone Reform Act would make that happen

The Central Intelligence Agency has, for years, been engaged in a secret drone war, carrying out operations in the Middle East to hunt down terrorist leaders. While it’s understandable that some measure of secrecy is needed to carry out its duties, for far too long Congress has been unable to perform any meaningful oversight of the Agency’s activities.

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) is trying to change that.

Yoho introduced the Drone Reform Act (H.R. 5091) earlier this month. This legislation would consolidate the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV, or “drones,” as they’re known to most Americans) into the Department of Defense.

“The CIA’s main mission is intelligence collection and analysis. It should not be in the business of military strikes. This legislation will bring our armed drone fleet under the jurisdiction of the DOD, where it should be,” Yoho said in a press release announcing the legislation. “If our national security requires drone strikes abroad, then one agency should be held accountable to the American people.”

Original cosponsors of the Drone Reform Act include Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Thomas Massie (R-KY), John Conyers (D-MI), and Barbara Lee (D-CA).

The Drone Reform Act, Yoho’s office explains, would mean more accountability in the budgetary and appropriations process. The CIA’s budget is heavily redacted, even to members of Congress, meaning that lawmakers cannot properly account for funding and resources.

House Republican moves to impeach Eric Holder

Citing a scandals and failure to comply with congressional investigations, Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) has announced on Wednesday that he will introduce articles of impeachment against Attorney General Eric Holder:

A group of 11 House Republicans will introduce a resolution Thursday calling for the impeachment of Eric Holder, saying the Attorney General has lost credibility and trust over a string of issues in recent years.

The articles of impeachment, drafted by Rep. Pete Olson of Texas, faults the Attorney General for refusing to comply with a congressional investigation of the botched gun-walking operation known as “Fast and Furious,” led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
[…]
“This was not a decision that I made lightly,” Olson said in a statement. “The American people deserve answers and accountability. If the Attorney General refuses to provide answers, then Congress must take action.”

CNN reported last week that Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Florida, was highly involved in this new effort to try and impeach Holder.

Given the mood among House Republican leadership, which wants to avoid any big political battles with President Barack Obama between now and the mid-term election, this isn’t likely to get very far. CNN noted that it the impeachment effort probably won’t get a vote in committee.

Even if it did manage to get out of committee and pass the House of Representatives, the Senate, controlled by Democrats, would never bring it to the floor for a vote. The impeachment effort is, basically, a statement of disapproval against Holder than anything substantive.

John Boehner re-elected as Speaker of the House

John Boehner

Despite (unsourced) rumors of his resignation and demise, John Boehner (R-OH) was re-elected as Speaker of the House this afternoon as the 113th Congress convened for the opening of its first session:

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) was reelected Speaker of the House on Thursday after a week of rumors of a possible GOP revolt.

Boehner won a bare majority in a vote that saw nine Republicans vote for other GOP members, and several others who abstained from voting or voted “present.” Two years ago, Boehner won all 241 available GOP votes.

In a vote that opened the 113th Congress, Boehner received 220 votes, compared to 192 for Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the minority leader. Fourteen members voted for other candidates or present. Boehner needed 218 votes to win reelection.

Stories broke yesterday afternoon that Boehner would resign during a meeting with the House Republican Conference. That obviously didn’t happen. Then the rumor was that enough conservative members had said that they were ready to vote to oust Boehner in today’s vote. Again, that didn’t happen.

Here’s how the dissenting members voted:

Defectors from Boehner included Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), who voted for Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho). Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) and two freshmen, Reps. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), all voted for Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), but Cantor himself voted for Boehner.

Reps. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) voted for outgoing member Allen West (R-Fla.). Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) voted for former Comptroller General David Walker. Speakers of the House do not have to be members of the House, although historically they all have been.


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