House Speaker John Boehner‘s standing with the troublesome crop of new Republicans in the House is so weak that the embattled leader had to turn to Democrats to win approval of a new stopgap spending bill this week.
Boehner’s sudden willingness to work with the other side shows how deep the split is between the Speaker and the new crop of GOP Representatives swept into office in last year’s election.
With some of the more vocal GOP newbies saying openly that their own Speaker should step down so they can elect someone who agrees with them, Boehner faces a long hard fight.
Writes David Rogers on Politico:
Tuesday’s breakdown in Republican discipline weakens Speaker John Boehner’s hand in White House budget talks and raises the chances of a government shutdown next month unless he and President Barack Obama greatly step up their game.
Fifty-four Republicans broke ranks with Boehner, leaving him suddenly dependent on Democrats to win House approval of a must-pass three-week spending bill to keep the government operating past Friday. Tea-party-backed freshmen contributed to the embarrassment, but an equal force was a set of more veteran conservatives — some with their own political agenda but also more willing to risk an immediate fight with the White House.
“I think we have to have a fight. I think this is the moment,” Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) told POLITICO prior to the vote. “Things don’t change around here until they have to, and Republicans ought to draw a line in the sand.”
Leadership aides would argue later that Republican losses piled up more at the end once passage was assured. But the bottom line is the 85 Democratic “yea” votes saved the speaker’s bill. And Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had made a powerful appeal to his colleagues at a morning caucus, saying Republicans must stand together to strengthen their hand in budget talks with Senate Democrats and Obama.