House Conservatives Want to Oust Boehner

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Friday, 11 Apr 2014 06:30 AM

By Cathy Burke

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Conservative lawmakers are plotting to dump House Speaker John Boehner as soon as November, the National Journal reported Thursday.

The National Journal said 40 to 50 House conservatives are behind a scheme to infiltrate the GOP leadership in 2015, and pushing the Ohio Republican aside would be the first step.

The conservative disapproval with Boehner has been widely reported.

The rebels' strategies include backing a single conservative leadership candidate, cutting a deal with Majority Leader Eric Cantor that would swap support with him for speaker in return for his bringing aboard "a conservative lieutenant," or showing Boehner at the post-November elections' meeting of the incoming GOP conference that he doesn't have the votes for re-election in January, the National Journal reported.

One Republican told the publication the "nucleus" of the rebellion is inside the House Liberty Caucus, which includes Justin Amash of Michigan, Raul Labrador of Idaho, and Thomas Massie of Kentucky, who all objected to Boehner's re-election as speaker in January 2013.

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Amash, chairman of the Liberty Caucus, has warned then there would be a "larger rebellion" if Boehner's leadership team didn't bring conservatives on board.

"There are no big ideas coming out of the conference. Our leadership expects to coast through this election by banking on everyone's hatred for Obamacare," said one Republican lawmaker organizing the rebellion the National Journal didn't identify. "There's nothing big being done. We're reshuffling chairs on the Titanic."

Boehner isn't the only target of the conservatives' ire, the National Journal reported.

Cantor has come under fire from conservatives recently because of a voice vote maneuver that helped pass an Obamacare "doctor fix" bill.

"I'm getting used to being deceived by the Obama administration, but when my own leadership does it, it's just not acceptable," Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona said last week, after Cantor met with a group of angry Republican Study Committee members.

"It's an issue of trust. If you want to have a majority that is governing, and a majority that is following the leader, the rest of us need to be in a position where we trust our leadership," Labrador has said, the National Journal reported.

"When you have politicians actually playing tricks on their own party, and their own members of Congress, I think that erodes the trust the American people have in the rest of us."

For his part, Boehner isn't going anywhere.

"Speaker Boehner is focused on the American people's top priority: helping our economy create more private sector jobs," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told the National Journal. "He has also said—publicly and privately—that he plans to be speaker again in the next Congress."

The attempted overthrow of Boehner last year failed in part because conservatives didn't have an alternative candidate for Republicans to rally around, the National Journal noted.

"Somebody has to step forward," said Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, one of 12 Republicans who refused to back Boehner's re-election in 2013. "This is not something where after the election you can step forward. There's going to be months and months of [planning] needed."

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