The split between Republican supporters and opponents of House Speaker John Boehner has empowered Democrats, led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and handed them significant legislative influence, The New York Times
With 245 Republicans and 188 Democrats, the GOP controls the 435-member (there are three vacancies) House. However, some 36 Republican lawmakers have formed a bloc against Boehner's leadership. They argue that he is not tough enough against President Barack Obama's policies.
With Democrats united and Republicans fragmented, Boehner had to rely on Democratic votes to keep the Homeland Security Department open.
Harry Reid, the Senate minority leader, was able to put off debate on a House-passed bill favored by conservatives that would have removed funding for implementing Obama's executive actions on immigration. Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell fell six votes short of overcoming a Democratic filibuster.
In the House, Pelosi held firm in demanding a "clean" DHS spending bill.
"We really don't have 218 votes to determine a bathroom break over here on our side," said Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Charlie Dent. "So how are we going to get 218 votes on transportation, or trade, or whatever the issue? We might as well face the political reality of our circumstances and then act accordingly."
As long as Democrats in the House and Senate stand together, they are in position to limit what the Republican majorities can do, according to the Times.
At the same time, a number of key legislative votes loom. More budget bills will soon begin to pile up. Medicare physicians face a cut in their compensation in April. The Highway Trust Fund, which provides infrastructure money, goes broke on May 31. The charter of the Export-Import Bank, opposed by some conservative groups, comes up for renewal in June. In October, the government will start to run out of money. Soon afterward, government borrowing reaches its authorized limit, the Times reported.
Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, who sides with Boehner, said his fellow Republicans need
to "stop making the perfect the enemy of the good."
Anti-Boehner Republican Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona said, "Sometimes it only takes a couple of these battles" in order "to act as a catalyst for major change," the Times reported.
"Part of our strength springs from: They need our votes to pass something," Pelosi said. "But part of it is, it's no use for you going down this path, because the president's going to veto it and we're going to sustain his veto. And that gives the president leverage, and that gives us leverage," the Times reported.
North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones, another anti-Boehner Republican, said, "If the leadership continues to reach out to Democrats and forgets that the Republican Party has certain core principles as a party, it will create more and more animosity," the Times reported.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.