Pressure Mounting for Challenge to Boehner as Speaker

Tuesday, 11 Dec 2012 11:56 AM

By Jim Meyers

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Growing displeasure among Republicans over House Speaker John Boehner’s fiscal cliff discussions is sparking speculation that he could face a challenge for his leadership position in January.

Several rebellious Republicans have hinted that they won’t vote to re-elect Boehner. And a conservative interest group has announced efforts to recruit a challenger to the speaker.

Boehner has said he is willing to accept an $800 billion income tax increase for wealthier Americans if the money comes from cutting deductions and loopholes and not from higher marginal rates.

Alert: Will Raising Taxes Help or Hurt America? Vote Here!

That doesn’t sit well with conservatives who insist the budget deficit is a result of too much spending, not too little taxing, the Washington Times observed.

And the National Journal reported, “Murmurs of some sort of challenge, or other conservative demonstration, against Boehner tied to the speaker election are percolating amid rising angst over a potential cave by Boehner on taxes in fiscal cliff talks.”

American Majority Action, a conservative interest group, has endorsed Rep. Tom Price of Georgia for the speaker post, and has launched a lobbying drive to convince rank-and-file GOP members to withhold their votes from Boehner, who has led the GOP in the House since 2006.

Price, chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, has said he won’t challenge Boehner, but legislators can vote for anyone when they cast their ballots for the next speaker on Jan. 3.

And National Review reported Monday that if fiscal cliff talks are viewed as having gone “sour” for conservatives, Price could consider putting his name into consideration for the speaker post.

“Price has been mentioned as a potential 2014 primary challenger to Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and even a quixotic challenge to Boehner’s speakership might score him more points with conservatives,” National Journal disclosed.

As for the rebellious Republicans, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, who was one of four members removed from his committee assignments reportedly due to his differences with the GOP party line, refused to commit to supporting Boehner and told CNN that the speaker needs to be “willing to make amends.”

Alert: Will Raising Taxes Help or Hurt America? Vote Here!

And Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona, another of the removed Republicans, suggested he could support House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia for speaker.

Asked point-blank if he would vote for Cantor, Schweikert offered a humorous response: “It’s bad enough being removed from your committee — I’d actually like not to be chairman of janitorial supplies if I answer that.”

According to Bloomberg, any budget deal Boehner might reach with President Obama would need Cantor’s support to insulate the speaker from rebellion in the GOP ranks, but “there is no guarantee that Cantor would stick with Boehner if a negotiated deal included higher income tax rates for top earners.”

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