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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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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Congressman Demands Pregnant Woman Explain Why Obamacare Includes Maternity Coverage By Tara Culp-Ressler June 19, 2014 at 1:18 pm Updated: June 19, 2014 at 2:35 pm


CREDIT: Shutterstock

A lawmaker from North Carolina spent several minutes badgering a pregnant doctor about why Obamacare requires plans to cover maternity services, telling her it’s a service that people like him will never use, during a House committee hearing this week.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, who works for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and is due to give birth in about three weeks, appeared before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday to testifyabout Obamacare’s impact on the insurance market. The hearing was entitled“Poised To Profit: How Obamacare helps insurance companies even if it fails patients,” so it’s a safe assumption that Cohen was up before a tough crowd.

During Cohen’s testimony, Rep. Mark Meadows (R) demanded to know why Americans are forced to buy coverage for services that don’t apply to them. He pointed out that he and his wife are in their 50s and don’t plan on using maternity coverage anytime soon. The doctor attempted to explain that maternity care is one of the ten essential health benefits that Obamacare requires new plans to include, but Meadows wasn’t convinced:

MEADOWS: So you have to buy maternity, even though you may never have a child?

COHEN: That is correct.

MEADOWS: Are there other things you have to buy that you may never use?

COHEN: It depends on your personal family situation and your medical situation. I’ll say as an internist, and a primary care doc, that sometimes you don’t know what that medical situation will be going forward, and that’s the nature–

MEADOWS: But maternity is one that you can probably analyze pretty well for someone who’s in their 50s.

COHEN: Right, but it’s a minimal essential benefit we wanted to make sure that all Americans had access to.

Obamacare critics have latched onto maternity coverage as a prime example of how the health law will drive up insurance costs by forcing plans to include unnecessary benefits. During previous House hearings, GOP lawmakerssarcastically asked former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius if she had ever heard of a man getting pregnant.

In reality, however, the health reform law simply seeks to eliminate the gender-based cost disparities in the insurance industry. Before Obamacare was implemented, maternity care was routinely excluded in the individual market. Along with the cost of other critical health services that are gender-specific — like birth control, mammograms, and Pap smears — that old system ensured that women ended up paying much more for their health care than men.

Although maternity coverage won’t apply to every single person who signs up for Obamacare, it could apply to a lot of them. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 25 percent of all U.S. hospitalizations are a consequence of pregnancy and childbirth. Those hospital visits aren’t cheap. Out-of-pocket costs for maternity care services can reach as high as $15,000, depending on a woman’s insurance plan.

Last fall, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) responded to the critiques of maternity coverage by making a social responsibility argument for health care, comparing it to the property taxes that fund public schools. “Maybe because my wife and I do not have any more children and they are grown up, maybe I should not have to pay property taxes to pay for my local schools,” he said. “We are better than that in this country. We are talking about being part of our society. It is to our benefit, my wife and I, to support our local schools because that is our next generation, we want them well taught. Same with health care. It is a values system.”