As Speaker Boehner continues to flail in an attempt to fund the Department of Homeland Security, the political fallout is seemingly endless. Boehner, Congressional Republicans’ already low approval ratings, and even relations between the House and Senate GOP caucuses all continue to take on water over the struggle to pass a clean DHS funding bill.
Today’s maneuvering is just the latest humiliation for the GOP, raising doubts that the Republicans can even function as a majority party. Some conservatives are even leading a whisper campaign to oust Speaker Boehner.
Speaker Boehner’s inability to manage this internal discord and dissension may not merely lead to his downfall, but that of his party as well. But don’t take our word for it — check out these no good, very bad headlines raking Boehner and the GOP over the coals:
National Journal: Charlie Cook: The GOP’s Damage Done
But I can’t help but think that what happened last week is terribly corrosive of the Republican brand and not something that any thinking Republican would like to see happen. So can something look horrible and yet be politically inconsequential?
The answer might be that just because Republicans aren’t in immediate danger of losing their House majority and that losing their Senate majority is—at the moment—a bit of a stretch, doesn’t mean that they can’t do themselves a lot of damage. Republicans now see the limitations of just having House and Senate majorities without holding the White House as well. What matters is not just a president’s ability to veto, but also the ability to use executive authority and dare the opposition to go to court.
Arguably the more likely effect of all this could be to make swing voters a bit more leery of giving Republicans unrestrained power. Do the events of the last week make independent and moderate voters any more likely to trust Republicans with all of the levers of power in Washington?
POLITICO: ‘Never go into these things without a plan’
But House conservatives wanted to go even further. Unable to temper antipathy toward Obama among the rank-and-file, House Speaker John Boehner agreed to back a more aggressive strategy: Restrict funding for the entire Department of Homeland Security and force the White House to capitulate in February when Republicans would finally have control of both houses of Congress.
Boehner was already under the gun: He was facing an election for speaker in the first week of January, meaning he had little margin for error. So he endorsed a tactic he believed would show his party was capable of effective governance and represented a unified opposition to a White House willing to stick its finger in the eye of Congress.
Instead, all it did was kick the can down the road and jeopardize funding for the entire Homeland Security Department — setting Republicans on a path toward internal discord and dissension, while shattering hopes for an orderly start to the new Congress.
Wall Street Journal: Squandering a GOP Majority
A majority in Congress is a terrible thing to waste, but only two months into their largest majority since the 1920s Republicans are well on the way. Their latest mental breakdown is over their attempt to overturn President Obama ’s order ending deportations for some five million illegal immigrants….
The immigration fiasco raises the larger question of whether House Republicans can even function as a majority. Some backbenchers are whispering that they’ll work with Democrats to oust Mr. Boehner as Speaker if he doesn’t follow their shutdown strategy. Some are also plotting to take down a procedural rule, which would mean handing control to Democrats.
Republicans need to do some soul searching about the purpose of a Congressional majority, including whether they even want it. If they really think Mr. Boehner is the problem, then find someone else to do his thankless job. If not, then start to impose some order and discipline and advance the conservative cause rather than self-defeating rebellion.
The Hill: The terrible, horrible, no good start for the Republicans
The opening weeks of the 114th Congress have been nothing short of a disaster for Republicans, who declared upon taking control of both chambers last fall that the era of governing by crisis and fiscal cliffs was over.
Since their declaration, House GOP leaders have yanked several high-profile bills from the floor after rebellions from rank-and-file members.
The low point came Friday, when more than 50 conservative Republicans revolted against Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and opposed a bill to fund the DHS.
It was a humiliating defeat for Boehner, who had to turn to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to bail him out with only hours to spare before a shutdown at the agency.
Instead of rallying behind a unified agenda, centrist and conservative Republicans now are engaged in open warfare with one another, bickering over the best strategy to push back against Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), a close Boehner ally, ripped “phony conservative members who have no credible policy proposals and no political strategy to stop Obama’s lawlessness.” And former Homeland Security Committee Chairman Pete King (R-N.Y.) criticized conservative rebels as “self-righteous and delusional.”
In a brief interview, Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), a Tea Party favorite, wouldn’t say whether conservatives are targeting Boehner, but he slammed GOP leaders for choosing to “negotiate with Democrats” rather than accept a plan by conservatives to continue fighting Obama’s immigration policies.
National Review: Boehner: Executive Amnesty ‘Will Continue To Be Litigated In The Courts’
Boehner also said that Senate Republicans couldn’t break a Democratic filibuster of the House-passed DHS funding bill, which denied funding for the implementation of Obama’s executive amnesty orders.
“As you’ve heard me say a number of times, the House has done its job by passing legislation to fund DHS and block the president’s executive actions on immigration,” he reminded the conference. “Unfortunately, the fight was never won in the other chamber. Democrats stayed united and blocked our bill, and our Republican colleagues in the Senate never found a way to win this fight. The three-week CR we offered would have kept this fight going and allowed us to continue to put pressure on Senate Democrats to do the right thing. Unfortunately, that plan was rejected.”
POLITICO: John Boehner allies fret coup attempt
Close allies of Speaker John Boehner are worried that his conservative rivals could move to oust him as soon as next week.
Removing a sitting speaker is exceedingly difficult, and such an effort would almost certainly fall short. Yet growing speculation about the possibility of it – coming after Friday’s embarrassing defeat at the hands of conservatives and House Democrats on the homeland security battle — shows how vulnerable the speaker has become.
The chances that an attempt to remove him would succeed are virtually nil. But it would show that his critics are willing to risk a split within the GOP Conference to force him out.
TPM: Conservative Group Lashes Out At GOP Establishment Over DHS Cave
The Tea Party-aligned Senate Conservatives Fund hit back Tuesday at the establishment Republican-aligned American Action Network, which had attacked three conservative Republicans for opposing a deal that funded the Department of Homeland Security without rolling back President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration
The Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF) is pushing back at the $400,000 ad campaign launched by the American Action Network, hitting Reps. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), John Jordan (R-OH), and Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) for opposing a deal to fund DHS that doesn’t roll back Obama’s immigration orders.
The bickering between the two organizations illustrates the rift among Republicans over DHS funding.