Fiscal Cliff Deal Won’t Cost Boehner a Second Term

Wednesday, 02 Jan 2013 06:37 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Despite being weakened in the fiscal-cliff debate, House Speaker John Boehner appears to be on track to re-election as the nation’s top Republican on Thursday.

Two GOP congressmen, Rep. Mike Grimm of New York and Chris Smith of New Jersey, who earlier had attacked Boehner, now say they have changed their minds and plan to endorse the Speaker for a second term.

With these assurances — and a reluctance for any viable candidate to step forward — many observers say it appears that Boehner is on track for another year as Speaker.

One possible threat centered around an aid package for victims of Superstorm Sandy, but even that storm passed.
Urgent Poll: Should Obama, Congress Have Agreed to Tax Deal?

"Whatever's done is done, and that's it," declared Rep. Pete King of New York on Wednesday afternoon after a meeting with Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor in which GOP leaders pledged to allow a Friday vote on $9 billion in aid for victims of the record-breaking storm.

A second vote on the remaining $51 million will come on Jan. 15. “The bottom line is we need the $60 billion,” King said. “We have gotten that solid commitment.”

Earlier Wednesday, King and several other members of the New York-New Jersey congressional delegation had hurled angry words at Boehner for not allowing a vote on the aid to come to the House floor.

But King said later that his anger at Boehner was now in the past.

“As far as I’m concerned that was a lifetime ago,” he said after the meeting with Boehner and Cantor, the Hill reports. “The bottom line is we are getting the result that we need.”

Ron Meyer, a spokesman for the conservative group American Majority Action, which was among several calling for Boehner’s ouster, acknowledged that House Republicans simply do not have a viable alternative to Boehner.

“It turns out no one else seems willing to pick up the mantle,” he said on Wednesday. “I hesitate to say it, but this goes to some degree to cowardice.”

“You can’t beat somebody with nobody,” added a senior House Republican to the National Journal on Wednesday.

Boehner’s speakership seems all but certain to survive several challenges in recent months.

Two weeks ago, for instance, dozens of GOP legislators refused to support Boehner’s “Plan B” fiscal-cliff proposal that would have staved off rising tax rates for most Americans.

The party split capped an extensive day of lobbying and arm-twisting of the GOP rank and file, which included a late-night meeting Boehner called to determine whether he had enough votes for approval.

That not being the case, Majority Leader Cantor announced that no vote would be held — and Boehner himself was spotted leaving the Capitol shortly thereafter.

Much of the criticism centered around conservative GOP legislators and outside groups seeing Boehner as too willing to compromise with the White House and Democrats on taxes and other fiscal issues.

And last month, Boehner stripped four Republicans — including three heavily supported by the Tea Party Patriots — from their coveted committee seats. The move created tension within the GOP ranks.

Urgent Poll: Should Obama, Congress Have Agreed to Tax Deal?

Still, other conservative groups were joining with American Majority Action to attack Boehner for his support of the fiscal-cliff bill that was negotiated by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, according to the National Journal.

Boehner was among just 85 House Republicans ultimately supporting the measure. But Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California voted against it. They were among 151 House GOP members to do so.

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