The Republican speaker pushes through a stopgap spending bill — but only after bowing to conservatives who embarrassed him earlier this week
Early Friday, the House narrowly passed a temporary spending plan designed to prevent a looming government shutdown — but only after Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) added more spending cuts to win over 48 fellow Republicans who voted against the GOP legislation just two days earlier. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the revised bill, which cut a green-jobs program to offset disaster-relief spending, is just an attempt to appease Tea Partiers, and has no chance in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Is Boehner once again losing control to the most conservative members of the GOP caucus?
Boehner is letting Tea Partiers push him around: A GOP caucus loyal to its leader would have rubberstamped this spending bill, says Steve Bell at Frum Forum. Instead, in the second such rebuke this year, the most conservative members of Boehner's divided party subjected him to the worst "public humiliation" any House speaker has endured in decades. Instead of Boehner showing the "extremists" who's boss, they showed him. "If the United States had a parliamentary system, the speaker would have to step down."
"Boehner can't control his caucus"
Actually, this could become a victory for Boehner: After Wednesday's failed vote, it looked like a "debacle for Boehner," says Chad Pergram at Fox News. But on Friday, "House GOP leaders successfully halved their nay votes" and pushed the bill through. Now it's Democrats in the Senate who are in the hot seat — if they don't pass Boehner's bill, they'll take the blame for the ensuing government shutdown. "How quickly fortunes change."
"The hitchhiker's guide to the stopgap spending bill"
Boehner only postponed the reckoning: The speaker is not off the hook, says Brian Beutler at Talking Points Memo. After this latest bill passed, he's sending House members home on vacation and trying to force Senate Democrats to "cave." But they're almost certain to kill the bill, in which case Boehner will have to let the government shut down on Sept. 30, or bring House members back to "strike a deal with Democrats that costs him significant support in his caucus." Will either choice make him look like an effective leader?
"Crunch time: House GOP jams Senate with government funding bill, partisan budget cuts for disaster aid"
Other stories from this topic:
- Opinion Brief: Should the GOP become the 'Party of Yes'?
- Opinion Brief: 2010: The year of the black Republican?
- Instant Guide: Ricochet.com: A 'clever and cunning' new brand of conservatism?