Why is the GOP so terrible at health care? So many reasons — but largely because they don’t understand political reality – MATTHEW SHEFFIELD

John Boehner saw all this coming — and despite this week’s debacle, Republicans will likely push on toward disaster

On Tuesday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell formally decided to call off a health care vote that he and other senior Republicans had been pushing toward for weeks.

Straddling a mere two-seat majority in the chamber, McConnell had to beat a hasty retreat after a number of his members indicated that they would not support the Senate’s version of the Obamacare repeal bill, officially called the Better Care Reconciliation Act. The cancellation paralleled an earlier move in March by the House GOP leader Paul Ryan to scuttle a vote doomed to fail.

One person who saw all this coming was former House Speaker John Boehner. Out of Congress since the end of 2015 following a conservative attack on his leadership, Boehner told a high-dollar health care industry conference in February of this year that there was no way that Republicans were going to be able to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act.

“In the 25 years that I served in the United States Congress, Republicans never, ever, one time agreed on what a health care proposal should look like. Not once,” Boehner told attendees, according to a report by Politico’s Darius Tahir.

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White House, GOP weighing big budget talks – By SEUNG MIN KIM 09/29/15 03:29 PM EDT Updated 09/29/15 07:55 PM EDT



The goal is to ease the threat of repeated government shutdowns until after the 2016 elections.

As President Barack Obama and top congressional leaders prepare to launch negotiations on a two-year budget deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is maneuvering to cut key Democrats out of the talks, according to sources familiar with the nascent negotiations.

The ambitious budget goal, outlined by McConnell on Tuesday, could help ease the threat of repeated government shutdowns until after the 2016 elections. But drama is already unfolding behind the scenes with McConnell’s private suggestion that the discussions be limited to just him, President Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), according to Democratic sources — a proposal that the president and outgoing speaker have rejected, the sources said.

On Tuesday, McConnell detailed the talks, which are focused on top-line budget numbers for fiscal 2016 and 2017. The discussions, which included McConnell, Obama and Boehner, began with an initial phone conversation among the three men nearly two weeks ago.

The discussions are preliminary, and are likely to stretch beyond the end of October, when Boehner’s resignation from Congress takes effect. But if the talks can produce top-line numbers for domestic and defense spending, that could help the GOP-led Congress avoid future showdowns over government spending like the standoff that will loom in mid-December.

“We’d like to settle a top-line for both years so that next year, we could have a regular appropriations process,” McConnell said Tuesday. “The president and Speaker Boehner and I spoke about getting started into discussions last week, and I would expect them to start very soon.”

A Boehner aide confirmed the talks, saying the men “discussed the need to get moving on the budget process.”


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The GOP civil war has quietly exploded back into the open — and it could get nastier than ever – BRETT LOGIURATO Aug. 2, 2015, 3:26 PM

John BoehnerAP

For a 56th birthday present to himself, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina) took perhaps the most aggressive step yet against the Republican Party’s establishment.

It marked perhaps the most bombastic challenge to House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) leadership, and another point at which long-simmering tensions within the Republican caucus have exploded out into the open.

Meadows introduced a resolution on Tuesday that aims to force Boehner from his post. The resolution will now be referred to a powerful House committee full of members loyal to Boehner, and has no chance of succeeding. But the message he had attempted to send was clear.

“The House of Representatives, to function effectively, in the service of all citizens of this country, requires the service of a Speaker who will endeavor to follow an orderly and inclusive process without imposing his or her will upon any Member thereof,” Meadows wrote in the resolution.

When Republicans took back control of the Senate and gained a bigger majority in the House of Representatives last year, their leaders promised an era of more responsible governance. But as Congress lurches toward a jam-packed legislative schedule this fall, infighting in both the House of Representatives and the Senate threatens that vow.

Republicans will come back to Washington in September with just 10 days to figure out how to avoid a second potential government shutdown in three years, as the right flank of the party is beginning to push to attach conservative priorities to the bill that keeps the government funded. The ramifications could extend all the way to the presidential campaign trail.

“The tension isn’t new and will continue until someone on the right has a ‘Sister [Souljah]’ moment,” one veteran Republican strategist told Business Insider, referring to the famous moment in American politics when then presidential candidate Bill Clinton repudiated the activist’s comments about race.


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How Boehner, Pelosi surprised everyone with a $200 billion deal – By Peter Sullivan – 03/28/15 06:07 AM EDT

A few days after the chaos of a failed vote to fund the Department of Homeland Security, Speaker John Boehner asked for a meeting, alone, with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Compromise was on his mind.

Greg Nash

With automatic cuts to doctors under Medicare set to take effect at the end of March, Boehner (R-Ohio) wanted to explore the possibility of a deal that would end the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), and with it a problem that has dogged Congress for nearly two decades.

The March 4 meeting in Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office on the second floor of the Capitol was brief, lasting only 11 minutes.

But on the central question that has for years thwarted deal making between the parties — whether to raise taxes — Boehner got the answer he was looking for.

Democrats would not insist on tax hikes in legislation ending the Medicare formula, Pelosi told Boehner.

“That was, from our point of view, the breakthrough,” said Michael Steel, a Boehner spokesman.

Democrats say the Medicare package is on an entirely different scale than the $4 trillion deficit-reduction package that President Obama and Democrats sought to negotiate with Republicans in 2011. Those talks broke down over the question of raising taxes, with both sides leveling bitter accusations over who was unwilling to bend.

A Democratic aide familiar with the Medicare talks called the comparison to the 2011 negotiations “not apples and oranges, but apples and baseball bats.”

Democrats view it is a victory that two-thirds of the deal is not paid for, that it includes priorities like funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and that Boehner did not insist on cuts to health programs that they thought would be harmful.

On Thursday, three weeks after the Boehner-Pelosi meeting, the Medicare deal passed the House in an overwhelming, bipartisan vote of 392-37.

The roughly $200 billion package, which is now awaiting action from the Senate, would be partially paid for, with a mix of cuts to healthcare providers and measures requiring wealthier Medicare beneficiaries to pay a higher share of premiums.

President Obama has said he is ready to sign the bill, which would lift the threat of payment cuts to doctors who treat Medicare patients.

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McConnell puts squeeze on House over immigration – By Alexander Bolton – 02/24/15 08:49 PM EST`

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is shifting tactics, saying Tuesday he is willing to allow a vote on a “clean” bill funding the Department of Homeland Security that would prevent a shutdown.

The Kentucky Republican said the legislation would be stripped of language attacking President Obama’s 2014 executive actions on immigration. That move has set up a fight with House Republicans, with fewer than 80 hours to the DHS shutdown deadline.

“I’ve indicated to [Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)] that I’d be happy to have his cooperation to advance the consideration of a clean DHS bill, which would carry us through until Sept. 30,” McConnell told reporters after a GOP conference meeting. “With Democratic cooperation on a position they have been advocating for the last two months, we could have that vote very quickly.”

McConnell said he would be willing to vote on the clean measure before considering a separate bill that would prohibit the administration from implementing Obama’s executive actions shielding the immediate family members of citizens and permanent legal residents from deportation.

The new strategy from McConnell raises pressure on Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), and sets in motion a legislative chess game with Reid.

Even though McConnell’s plan would appear to give Senate Democrats exactly what they want, Reid said he first wanted assurances from Boehner that the bill would pass the House.

“Unless the Speaker is in on the proposal — of course we have to make sure that we can get a bill to the president, not that we send a hot potato to Boehner,” Reid said.

“That doesn’t do the trick,” he said of McConnell’s proposal.

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Boehner Blames Democrats For Scuffle Over Homeland Security Funding – SCOTT NEUMAN FEBRUARY 15, 201510:31 AM ET

House Speaker John Boehner says he’s prepared to let the Department of Homeland Security run out of money to push the Republican majority’s efforts to reverse President Obama’s immigration initiative.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Thursday.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Thursday. Molly Riley/AP

“Senate Democrats are the ones standing in the way. They’re the ones jeopardizing funding,” Boehner told Fox News Sunday. Asked if he would allow funding for DHS to lapse, Boehner responded: “Certainly. The House has acted. We’ve done our job.”

Senate Democrats have filibustered the $40 billion funding measure for DHS because it also includes a rollback of the president’s executive action on immigration. Republicans don’t have the necessary votes to pass the measure and override a promised presidential veto. The department runs out of cash on Feb. 27.

“The House has acted to fund the department and to stop the president’s overreach when it comes to immigration and his executive orders,” Boehner said. “The president said 22 times that he did not have the authority to do what he eventually did. And the Congress just can’t sit by and let the president defy the Constitution and defy his own oath of office. And so the House acted. Now it’s time for the Senate to act.”

Even if the measure passes both houses, Obama has threatened to veto any DHS funding bill that also contains the immigration restrictions.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said his chamber is at an impasse and the next move would be up to Boehner.

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‘There appear to be no rules anymore’ – By DAVID ROGERS 1/25/15 7:59 AM EST

What Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu says about Washington’s mess.

John Boehner and Benjamin Netanyahu are pictured. | Getty

Soon after becoming House Speaker in 2011, Republican John Boehner started running the traps on inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint meeting of Congress.

But when Barry Jackson, then Boehner’s chief-of-staff, checked with President Barack Obama’s top advisers, Jackson said he was left waiting a month only to get no response. Ultimately the Netanyahu speech went ahead in May but soon after Jackson faced the opposite problem: the White House had promised South Korea’s leadership an appearance before Congress, he said, without checking first with the speaker.

None of these slights justify what seems like payback now: Boehner’s decision to invite Netanyahu again, only this time without advising Obama or Democrats in Congress.

But the sequence of events does capture how much the normal courtesies between this White House and Congress have deteriorated — even in front of guests from another country.

“There appear to be no rules anymore. If you can do it, do it,” said Patrick Griffin, who recalls nothing quite like this even in the tempestuous times Griffin served as White House liaison between President Bill Clinton and Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), herself a former speaker who oversaw similar joint meetings for foreign guests, said the management of the invitation was “inappropriate” and Boehner risks squandering his power in a fit of “hubris.”

But privately, Democrats admit too that this White House — as seen in the South Korea episode — is no innocent. And Jackson, who has served at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, said he is baffled that the administration should talk now about “protocol” after being so quick to exert its executive power to run over Congress.

“This is not the first time where they got cross-wise thinking the House was not an equal branch,” Jackson said. “When I heard about this, I shook my head.”

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Boehner may let dissenters off the hook – By Jake Sherman 1/7/15 7:15 PM EST Updated 1/7/15 8:06 PM EST

A day after he took swift action to punish two allies who crossed him in Tuesday’s vote for speaker, it looks like he might backtrack.

House Speaker John Boehner is pictured. | AP Photo

Some of the House conservatives who betrayed Speaker John Boehner might escape immediate retribution after all.

Boehner is in a familiar jam: Many of his closest allies want him to pummel members who defy him. The rank and file think retribution is a step too far. And Boehner’s style deters him from punishing people, even when they publicly embarrass him.

His allies could be disappointed again this time, even after more than two dozen House members crossed Boehner in Tuesday’s speaker election.

Some lawmakers and aides close to Boehner say Rep. Richard Nugent (R-Fla.) might win back his prized seat on the elite, speaker-appointed Rules Committee, and Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) may even get to chair subcommittees on other panels, even though all three voted against Boehner. Senior GOP leadership aides say no final decisions have been made, but the prospect of letting the dissenters off easy is galling to some of the speaker’s closest allies, who want blood — and seem angry he isn’t willing to spill it.

“We need to get to the bottom of the guys who voted against [procedural motions], and we need to understand why they voted against that, and then we need to know why people voted against the speaker yesterday,” said Rep. Devin Nunes, the California Republican whom Boehner installed as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. “Name calling — saying ‘RINO’ and ‘establishment’ – that’s name calling,” Nunes said. “We need to understand why they voted the way they did.”

Nunes wants the panel that chooses committee assignments to reconvene and take action against the dissenters, and he’s planning to draft a Republican resolution that would forbid people who vote against the speaker from leading subcommittees.

For now, Boehner has empowered his committee chairs to decide on the subcommittee gavels, and Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) sounds like he will allow Meadows to slide into a prized chairmanship, despite having voted for Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) for speaker. Chaffetz made clear to his subcommittee chairs before the vote that he expected them to be “team players.”

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Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/01/boehner-may-let-dissenters-off-the-hook-114062.html#ixzz3ODrJ14z7

The Republicans who voted against Boehner for Speaker – By Cristina Marcos January 06, 2015, 02:38 pm

Twenty-five Republicans rebelled against John Boehner (R-Ohio), who won a third term as Speaker on Tuesday.

The 25 Republicans, including three freshmen, didn’t coalesce around a single alternative candidate.

Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), whose nomination for Speaker became public just minutes before the vote, attracted the most votes at 12.

Meanwhile, the other two long-shot candidates, Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) only received three and two votes each.

Additionally, freshman Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) voted “present” rather than voting for anyone. And two Republican lawmakers voted for people who aren’t even members of the House: Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), and Rep. Curt Clawson (R-Fla.) for Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

Many of the votes for GOP candidates apart from Boehner drew murmurs and sometimes even outright laughter in the House chamber. The votes for Paul and Sessions drew the most derision from fellow lawmakers.

Most of the lawmakers who voted against Boehner are hard-line conservatives who particularly opposed the GOP leadership’s handling of the government-wide spending bill last month. Many conservatives had urged leadership to defund President Obama’s executive action to shield illegal immigrants from deportation. But the “cromnibus” spending package didn’t include such a provision.

Many lawmakers were absent from the vote due to former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo’s (D) funeral in New York and snow in Washington, D.C. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), a favorite for Speaker among some Tea Party supporters, didn’t make it in time due to the weather but said he would have voted for Boehner.

On the Democratic side, only four lawmakers voted for candidates aside from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) voted for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, while Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voted for civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.). And Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Fla.), who stated she wouldn’t support Pelosi on the campaign trail, voted for Cooper.

Below is a list of the Republican lawmakers who voted against Boehner:

Justin Amash (R-Mich.)
Brian Babin (R-Texas)
Rod Blum (R-Iowa)
Dave Brat (R-Va.)
Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.)
Curt Clawson (R-Fla.)
Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.)
Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.)
Scott Garrett (R-N.J.)
Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.)
Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)
Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.)
Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.)
Walter Jones (R-N.C.)
Steve King (R-Iowa)
Thomas Massie (R-Ky.)
Mark Meadows (R-N.C.)
Richard Nugent (R-Fla.)
Gary Palmer (R-Ala.)
Bill Posey (R-Fla.)
Scott Rigell (R-Va.)
Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.)
Randy Weber (R-Texas)
Daniel Webster (R-Fla.)
Ted Yoho (R-Fla.)


The Republicans who will vote against Boehner – By Scott Wong – 01/05/15 06:00 AM EST

Greg Nash

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) is slated to win another two years as Speaker on Tuesday when House lawmakers cast their first vote of a new Congress entirely controlled by Republicans.

But don’t expect the public roll call on the House floor to be drama free.

Like two years ago, a disorganized-but-vocal band of conservatives has vowed to oppose Boehner, either by calling out someone else’s name during the vote, or simply abstaining or voting “present.”

Over the weekend, Tea Party Reps. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said they would challenge Boehner for the Speaker’s gavel in a last-ditch bid to unseat him. One outspoken critic, Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), has openly plotted overthrowing Boehner, telling a radio station before Christmas he’s been huddling with 16 to 18 other conservatives to find a viable alternative.

Jones told a local newspaper Saturday he’s now rallying behind GOP Rep. Daniel Webster, the former Florida state House speaker whose name will also be offered on the floor Tuesday.

And last week, Rep. Thomas Massie playfully tweeted a photo of a McDonald’s drive-through sign reading: “NEXT SPEAKER PLEASE.” The Kentucky Republican made it official Saturday, saying he’ll support someone else for Speaker, though he wouldn’t name names.

Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) are also in the “dump Boehner” camp. Bridenstine declared in a lengthy news release that he couldn’t back Boehner after the Speaker last month struck a $1.1 trillion deal with Democrats to fund the government without doing more to stop President Obama’s executive actions.

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