House Speaker John Boehner's leadership is facing crucial tests this fall – and could signal an end to his era, Politico
Citing interviews with a dozen lawmakers and aides, Politico reports as Congress gets back to work Tuesday, the Ohio Republican must manage a fight to defund Planned Parenthood, the threat of a potential government shutdown, a deadline to raise the federal debt ceiling, a showdown over highway spending – and a vote to oust him as Speaker.
"Look, no question they're looking at a challenging fall," David Schnittger, a former top aide to Boehner for 21 years tells Politico.
"By the same token, these guys aren't strangers to challenging situations. What lies ahead looks challenging, but it also looks kind of familiar. Boehner's in the second half of his fifth year as speaker. Having been there for four of those five years, it seemed like every few months there was a new 'test.'"
Some two dozen Republican lawmakers voted against his bid for a third term as speaker
in January, and he survived another ouster bid in July from conservative North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows.
hints he's not done yet.
Still, supporters point to Boehner's contribution to one of the most productive sessions in Congress, negotiating a permanent change to how doctors are reimbursed under Medicare, a free trade agreement, and creating the Select Committee on Benghazi that exposed Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email server, Politico reports.
"I don't think any other speaker could've gotten anything more out of this White House," House GOP chief deputy whip Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) tells Politico.
"Look at what we've been able to do in the time we've been in the majority, with a Democratic president who has had a backstop of a U.S. Senate for the most part controlled by Harry Reid," added fellow Ohio Rep. Pat Tiberi.
"Despite that challenge, we've cut discretionary [spending]. We had a significant mandatory spending program reformed in the 'doc fix.' That's pretty significant."
But Politico reports top lawmakers and aides in the GOP leadership expect Meadows or another Boehner foe to try and force a vote before the end of the year on whether to keep him as speaker. He'll likely lose the support of the 25 lawmakers who voted against him last time, plus others who've gotten more frustrated, Politico reports.
The first big test of Boehner's helping comes at the end of the month, when government funds run out – and as conservatives push to oppose any budget bill that continues to fund Planned Parenthood
, which has come under intense fire after hidden-camera videos showed how the brokering of fetal tissue for research was handled. The group counters the videos are a smear tactic.
"If there's anyone in this world who would want to defund Planned Parenthood, it's John Boehner," Tiberi tells Politico. "But the reality is, as I've said over and over again, how do you do that with a president who doesn't agree with you? … How would a new speaker change the fact that we don't have the votes?"
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