Despite recent posturing of Republican Rep. Mark Meadows to oust House Speaker John Boehner, more junior conservatives among House Republicans appear willing to give Boehner one more chance to lead during the upcoming votes on the Iran deal, the defunding of Planned Parenthood, and the Ex-Im Bank.
“The next few weeks will determine how frustrated we are with the leadership,” said freshman Rep. Barry Loudermilk on Wednesday.
Loudermilk was one of several Republican lawmakers who addressed the question of whether Boehner and company should go at the monthly “Conversations with Conservatives” meeting with reporters on Capitol Hill.
Although none of the House Members in the “Conversations” conclave were willing to second Meadows’ call for Boehner to leave now, many made it clear that their support depended on whether he and other House GOP leaders began to listen to dissident voices outside Congress.
“Donald Trump takes credit for a lot of things,” Rep. Raul Labrador told the group, but it’s important to listen to what he is saying. Only when Americans are secure in their own homes and not worried about someone in the U.S. illegally who will kill our children can we then have a real discussion about immigration.”
Labrador urged his party’s leadership to “stop listening to its donor class” and understand why “[outsider presidential candidates] Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorna are doing so well.”
Rep. Jeff Duncan who came in on the same Republican wave of 2010 as Labrador, agreed.
“There needs to be less bashing of Trump,” he said, adding that Republican leaders should “start listening to him. His message is resonating — secure the border, follow the rule of law, end sanctuary cities and no amnesty. Don’t grant citizenship to those who broke the law.”
Along with listening to Trump and “outsider” candidates, conservatives left little doubt that their decision to continue supporting Boehner as speaker would depend on whether there is a serious effort in the weeks ahead to defund Planned Parenthood.
“Nobody in [South Carolina’s] Third District wants to see tax dollars for an organization that supports systematically kills babies in the womb,” said Duncan, “How can Congress fund this practice?”
Several of the conservative House members hinted of a strategy to defund Planned Parenthood by shifting its present taxpayer funding to federal health centers.
Noting that 28 million American women are served by Planned Parenthood, Rep. Vickie Hartzler said “federal health centers serve eight times that many.”
House Republicans can avoid the charge that their defunding of Planned Parenthood is “anti-woman,” said Rep. Mick Mulvaney, “by moving Planned Parenthood’s funding to federal health centers.”
Clearly the issue of defunding Planned Parenthood will be one of the premier causes for House conservatives in the weeks ahead, as well as a defining moment for Speaker Boehner and his party’s leadership in the House.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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