Boehner Spokesman to Newsmax: Rumors on Resignation 'Silly'

Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013 09:35 PM

By Todd Beamon

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A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner debunked news reports on Tuesday saying that the Ohio Republican would step down after next year’s congressional elections.

“These rumors are silly,” spokesman Michael Steel told Newsmax, noting that Boehner filed his re-election papers last week. “The speaker has been clear — publicly and privately — that he expects to be speaker in the next Congress.”

Steel was responding to a report in The Daily Beast hinting that Boehner might step down next year in light of Tuesday’s announcement by GOP Rep. Tom Latham of Iowa was retiring after 10 terms in the House.

He was among three congressmen to announce their retirements on Tuesday. The others were GOP Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia and Rep. Jim Matheson, a Democrat from Utah.

“Latham is a close friend of Speaker John Boehner, and his departure from Congress will further fan the ever-constant rumors about Boehner’s retirement,” the report said.

Latham, 65, who is Iowa’s most senior congressman, is a member of the Appropriations Committee. He had been heavily courted by the Republican Party to seek the Senate seat vacated by five-term Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.

The decision creates an open seat that includes the Des Moines area in central Iowa and the vast rural tracts of southern and western Iowa.

The Daily Beast report said that Latham’s move “just adds further grist to the Washington rumor mill.”

In recent weeks, however, Boehner has come under fire for attacking conservatives and tea party groups for their opposition to the budget agreement that was reached by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Budget Committee, and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, who heads the Senate Budget Committee.

The House passed the proposal last week on a 332-to-94 vote. Sixty-two Republicans and 32 Democrats broke with their leaders to oppose the $85 billion spending bill.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted 67-33 to end debate on the bill and move it to a floor vote —and the Democratic-controlled chamber is expected to pass the legislation on Wednesday.

Twelve Republicans voted with Democrats to advance the measure over a 60-vote filibuster threshold demanded by GOP leaders.

Boehner had blasted such groups Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, and Heritage Action for America for their opposition, saying that they “lack all credibility” and accused them of “using our members [congressmen] and the American people for their own goals.”

But longtime political consultant Dick Morris said in an opinion piece in Newsmax last week that Boehner would not be speaker “if it were not for the tea party and the other conservative groups he now criticizes.”

In fact, the Daily Beast article referenced longtime Boehner critic Rep. Tim Huelskamp, the first-term Republican from Kansas, who charged to Newsmax last year that “petty, vindictive politics” led the speaker and the Republican Steering Committee to boot him and three other tea party-backed GOP representatives from key leadership posts.

Huelskamp was also behind efforts in January to replace Boehner as speaker, The Daily Beast noted.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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