Growing displeasure among Republicans over House Speaker John Boehner’s fiscal cliff discussions is sparking speculation that he could face a challenge for his leadership position in January.
Several rebellious Republicans have hinted that they won’t vote to re-elect Boehner. And a conservative interest group has announced efforts to recruit a challenger to the speaker.
Boehner has said he is willing to accept an $800 million income tax increase for wealthier Americans if the money comes from cutting deductions and loopholes and not from higher marginal rates.
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That doesn’t sit well with conservatives who insist the budget deficit is a result of too much spending, not too little taxing, the Washington Times observed.
And the National Journal reported, “Murmurs of some sort of challenge, or other conservative demonstration, against Boehner tied to the speaker election are percolating amid rising angst over a potential cave by Boehner on taxes in fiscal cliff talks.”
American Majority Action, a conservative interest group, has endorsed Rep. Tom Price of Georgia for the speaker post, and has launched a lobbying drive to convince rank-and-file GOP members to withhold their votes from Boehner, who has led the GOP in the House since 2006.
Price, chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, has said he won’t challenge Boehner, but legislators can vote for anyone when they cast their ballots for the next speaker on Jan. 3.
And National Review reported Monday that if fiscal cliff talks are viewed as having gone “sour” for conservatives, Price could consider putting his name into consideration for the speaker post.
“Price has been mentioned as a potential 2014 primary challenger to Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and even a quixotic challenge to Boehner’s speakership might score him more points with conservatives,” National Journal disclosed.
As for the rebellious Republicans, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, who was one of four members removed from his committee assignments reportedly due to his differences with the GOP party line, refused to commit to supporting Boehner and told CNN that the speaker needs to be “willing to make amends.”
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And Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona, another of the removed Republicans, suggested he could support House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia for speaker.
Asked point-blank if he would vote for Cantor, Schweikert offered a humorous response: “It’s bad enough being removed from your committee — I’d actually like not to be chairman of janitorial supplies if I answer that.”
According to Bloomberg, any budget deal Boehner might reach with President Obama would need Cantor’s support to insulate the speaker from rebellion in the GOP ranks, but “there is no guarantee that Cantor would stick with Boehner if a negotiated deal included higher income tax rates for top earners.”
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This post was modified from its original form on 12 Dec, 6:27
By Erika Johnsen
On the House floor on Tuesday, Speaker John Boehner broke from the mutual semi-silence of what’s been going on between himself and President Obama on the fiscal-cliff negotiations, and informed the Congress that all he’s waiting on are some proposals for spending cuts from the White House on which they would be willing to make moves as part of the “balanced approach” we’ve heard so much about (emphasis mine):
(go to link at end of article for speech by Boehner as it might be advantageous to hear his own words on this)
The Republicans made a serious offer to avert the fiscal cliff… Let’s be honest, we’re broke. And the plan that we’ve offered is consistent with the president’s call for a balanced approach. A lot of people know that the president and I met on Sunday. It was a nice meeting, it was cordial. But we’re still waiting for the White House to identify what spending cuts the president is willing to make as part of the balanced approach that he promisedthe American people. You know, where are the president’s spending cuts? The longer the White House slow walks this process, the closer our economy gets to the fiscal cliff. … We know that the president wants more stimulus spending and an increase in the debt limit without any cuts or reforms. That’s not fixing the problem, frankly, it’s making it worse. On top of that, the president wants to raise tax rates on many small business owners. Now, even if we did exactly what the president wants, we would see red ink for as far as the eye can see. That’s not fixing the problem either, it’s making it worse and hurting our economy.
This is a point about which I don’t think Republicans are being nearly vocal enough: President Obama’s plan is nowhere near the realm of seriousness. He may have the bigger platform from which to trumpet the ostensible benefits of his plan, but the cold, hard reality is that he’s proposing a whole heap of new spending, and merely hiking taxes on the wealthy will do perilously close to nothing to help us bring down our deficit gap. Observe: Even if the president’s proposal works perfectly and brings in the amount of revenue the White House claims it will (I wouldn’t bet on it), a full three-quarters of these tax hikes would go toward new spending. Balanced approach, say what?
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said much the same thing to his chamber during Tuesday’s proceedings — the White House needs to get serious and name their cuts.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, said Obama’s $400 billion spending cut proposal is “vague.”
“Until the president gets specific about cuts, nobody should trust Democrats to put a dime in new revenue toward real deficit reduction or to stop their shakedown of the taxpayers at the top 2%,” the Kentucky Republican said Tuesday on the Senate floor shortly before Boehner’s remarks. …
“Don’t you think (Obama) could put together a list of spending cuts that at least, at least includes robo-squirrel? We are still waiting,” McConnell said.
I’d say the onus is on the White House to present the other half of this mysteriously balanced approach they keep talking about. We get that the president would like to hike taxes, virtually eliminate the debt ceiling, and just leave the spending-cut plan for later next year; what else ya’ got?
Predictably, of course, the White House was not impressed.
What part of this are people refusing to see and why are they so hardheaded that they fail to see the basic principals of negotiation. We know that Obama and the Democrats do not want to give an inch, so we have to find a way to get them to do this. It means that we negotiate in a minimal way on the smaller issue for now and that we stand firm on the larger issue and that is exactly what Boehner is proposing. We give a little on the tax increase for now (and he makes it clear it is temporary), and then we stand firm on the budget cuts and do not allow the president his open ended ability to control the debt limit. To me these last two are the bigger issue for now; we can't continue to spend more than we take in in revenue. We know that the proposed tax hikes will not amount to a hill of beans and yet giving a little and standing firm that this is all we will give on that is sensible. It can be cut later; but we have to cut spending and we can't let Obama have free reign with the debt limit.
We need to open our eyes and try to understand the principals of negotiation. Hard line "my way or the highway" is Obama's approach and that is not to be tolerated; equally it should not be our policy either, not without an attempt to negotiate.
Nothing will be accomplished if we don't make some effort at compromise; if we do we have the right to expect that they will. And Boehner will not agree to any deal until he sees their proposal, that significant cuts are made to reduce the spending, that he backs off the unlimited debt ceiling, and that the WH's deal is accepted; what in the world is wrong with this position?
Linda: Giving Dear Leader the $800B+ in unspecified "tax loophole closures" right off the bat isn't "negotiation" but capitulation and all that has done is make Dear Leader double his tax demand, insist on rate increases, add more demands for spending programs, and to give him debt limit increase authority. Once again, this position by the Speaker coupled with his declared intention of doing "immigration reform" and throwing in the towel on doing anything about ObamaCare (even with court actions in the works and rebellion at the state level in many states on Medicaid changes and state run insurance exchanges) makes him look weak and clueless. Giving unilateral support to tax increases that give Dear Leader and his Demagogues cover for what they want while getting nothing in return isn't "leadership". Taxes will probably go up but there have been many out there (Ran Paul the latest) that say let Dear Leader and the Dems own the results by passing a bill to keep all rates in place and send it to the Senate (where it will die because of the Dems) and then let the House Dems put through a bill to raise rates and let that go through without ANY GOP support. That means that the GOP cavers must vote "present" and not support the Dem bill. It also means that the Dem bill ONLY contain the tax rate increases and nothing else like the debt limit cave or spending increases. The GOP could possibly live with the latter and use that as an issue when the deficit comes in higher again this fiscal year but definitely NO on giving away the Legislative Branch's control over financial affairs as outlined in the Constitution. It really looks like in this game of "fiscal cliff" chicken the Speaker just jerked the wheel and drove over the leadership cliff before Dear Leader's car was even in sight.
John, I have not seen that this is what he has offered. Do you hve a substantiated source to back this claim up as I would like to see it please. I ahve heard that his plan does not allow for that much at all; some, yes, but not to this degree. But again, I do know that your hard line expectation is never going to accomplsh anything of benefit to us at this time, either. I would rather see some "capituation, as you call it" and standing hard on budget cuts and maintainig congressional control of the debt limit at this time as this is going to accomplish much more immediately. We need to take this in steps, John; hard line demands that it be all our way is no more constructive than that of Obama's like position. If we give a little it forces his hand to have to do the same. If he won't then we are at a stalemate and will remain there. Boehner is not planning to give in; he is standing firm for the Democrats and the President to make those cuts they promised the people and those concessions necessary to make it work. And I don't think that you are even looking at the real picture here; what you are saying is not what is happening John. In fact some don't even think, based on what they see with the stock market, that we will even go over the cliff; we haven't and I don't think we will, but if we do, so be it. We will just have to work our way out of it. This Country has faced worse. John, maybe the real issue here is that those of us pre- and present baby bommers are too spoiled. We never had to work through a real economic struggle like the depression, we have not had to learn the lesson of coming together as a Nation and shaking off that kind of hardship and getting the economy working again. Because of it we lack the character, the strength and the true patiotism (generally as for the most part) that our parents generation faced. It was this that made the country stronger, make the people stronger and brought about an era of prosperity as well. So, maybe we have to do that now, who knows. Yes, things could be better, but there certainly could be worse, too.
I am more concerned now about the threat of terrorism (and yes, it is terrorism) and the threat of Marxism in this Country and they are both there licking their lips and chomping at the bit to get us.