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.