Last night Mark Levin praised House Conservatives, explaining how they are now threatening to side with Democrats in a vote to oust Boehner from the speakership. They are offering Democrats the ability to use this as leverage in upcoming battles against Boehner, saying they will vote with Democrats to oust him.
BY SCOTT WONG
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Wednesday he backs Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz’s decision to punish Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) for voting against a procedural motion on trade bills.
Last week, Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, stripped Meadows of a subcommittee gavel for voting against the rule, as well as for withholding dues from the House GOP’s campaign arm. Meadows was also among 25 conservatives in January who voted against giving Boehner another two years as Speaker.
The move has infuriated conservatives on and off Capitol Hill who’ve complained about the retaliation from Boehner and his allies.
But Boehner informed rank-and-file Republicans in a Wednesday morning conference meeting that Chaffetz made the decision alone and that it was the right call.
“We have the majority, and when it comes to procedural votes in the House, the majority has to stick together and vote for or against … those procedural motions,” Boehner told reporters after the closed-door meeting.
“I think the chairman made the right decision. I made it clear to the members I supported that decision,” he added. “I’m sure the family conversation will continue.”
Earlier, Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) booted three conservatives off his vote-counting team for voting against the same trade rule.
All four lawmakers who’ve been punished are members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, led by Rep. Jim Jordan, who like Boehner is an Ohio Republican.
Freedom Caucus members huddled Tuesday night to discuss how to respond to the retaliation, but Jordan said Wednesday morning that no decisions had been made and that conversations are continuing.
“What they did to Mark was wrong,” Jordan told The Hill.
Published on Jun 22, 2015
Rep. Mark Meadows, (R-N.C.), says voting ‘no’ against the trade bill led to losing his role as subcommittee chairman.
It’s time for conservatives to take out House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)35%
and all of his comrades in primaries, nationally syndicated radio host, New York Times bestselling author, and conservative movement thought leader Mark Levin argues in an exclusive comment to Breitbart News.
Levin’s comments come after Boehner’s retaliation against conservatives hit a new low this weekend, with a report from Politico about how House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)80%
—playing along with Boehner’s scheme to attack Republicans for voting their conscience—removed Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC)96%
as the chairman of a subcommittee on his full committee. Levin even compared Boehner to 20th century Communist Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and how he cleansed his government of all dissent.
“Speaker Boehner’s and Congressman Chaffetz’s removal of Meadows is the latest in a series of ideologically-driven attacks on conservatives. Boehner seems to think he’s Stalin cleaning out all opposition in the Kremlin,” Levin said. “No Republican Speaker in recent times has behaved with less integrity in his wielding of power.”
Levin said that Boehner, House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)45%
, and Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)74%
—and more—each need to be removed by Republicans across the country in primaries in 2016. He says this is because the leadership has failed to learn the proper lessons from the astronomical defeat of now former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in 2014 in a primary against now Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA), the first time in U.S. history a sitting House Majority Leader was defeated in a primary. The position of majority leader was created in the late 1800s, so that means this never happened for more than a century—and Levin is calling out GOP leadership for failing to learn from the unprecedented event.
“Obviously, the lessons of Eric Cantor’s humiliating loss have not resonated with Boehner, McCarthy, and Scalise,” Levin said. “The only solution is for Conservatives to husband their resources and target these three in the coming Republican primaries. Conservatives need to find serious candidates and raise funds nationwide to defeat them. Let them fight for their political careers as our response to their disgusting and pathetic behavior.”
For primaries, Boehner already has an opponent declared—J.D. Winteregg. Winteregg ran against Boehner last cycle and didn’t win, but he is getting even more aggressive this time around.
With regard to Scalise, living inside his district is conservative 2014 U.S. Senate candidate retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness—who got 202,000 votes statewide when he ran for Senate, but that wasn’t enough to beat then Rep. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)60%
to get into a runoff with then Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA). Cassidy defeated Landrieu with Maness’s help in the runoff. Maness is currently vying for Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)71%
to appoint him into his Senate seat when, as it is presumed he will, Vitter wins the governor’s mansion in an election later this year. If Vitter doesn’t put Maness in the seat—at this time Rep. John Fleming (R-LA)82%
is also vying for the seat—then Maness may run against Scalise in a primary.
As for McCarthy, it’s unclear who in a liberal California district might step up to run against him. But his district is considered heavily Republican even in California and is rated R+16 by the Cook Partisan Voting Index, which means there’s probably a good chance conservatives could find a viable alternative to him there.
Even those inside the beltway in Washington, like their favorite publication Politico, recognize how abnormal it is for Boehner and his comrades to engage in these kinds of extreme tactics against his own members, while helping Democrats.
Politico’s Jake Sherman and Lauren French called this attack against Meadows—the latest in what they call a “House Republican crackdown” by Boehner and his allies—a “new level of severity.”
“Losing a subcommittee chairmanship midway through a congressional session is among the most serious punishments thus far in Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)35%
’s (R-Ohio) majority,” French and Sherman wrote. “Boehner and his leadership team have grown frustrated with Republicans who vote against the procedural ‘rule’ motion. Those votes — which allow the Republican leadership to bring a bill up for debate and a vote — typically fall along party lines. But a group of conservatives has voted against the measures, mostly in protest of Boehner’s leadership.”
Meadows is getting targeted like this because he was one of 34 courageous conservatives who voted against a rule that leadership used to try to bring Obamatrade to the floor of the House last week. After their effort nearly succeeded, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)9%
and her Democrats joined in on the final bill to kill Obamatrade—only to have it brought back to life by Boehner’s team later—when the House voted on the bill.
“Republican leadership sees the move as unacceptable —akin to ceding power to Democrats,” Sherman and French wrote about efforts to organize votes against rules. They went on:
On June 11, 34 Republicans voted against the rule that allowed for consideration of President Barack Obama’s request for fast-track authority to negotiate the largest trade deal in history. Conservatives said Boehner and GOP leaders were working too closely with Democrats, and ignoring Republicans. Boehner said he has worked closely with conservatives. In a closed meeting this week, the speaker told rank-and-file Republicans that he was angry that conservatives were voting against the motions. The GOP leadership has told lawmakers that there will be ramifications for voting against such resolutions.
Leadership previously attacked several other House members, removing Reps. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)88%
, Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)78%
, and Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM)71%
from their positions on the Whip Team. Word on the street is, too, that Boehner and his allies aren’t done yet: sources familiar with the House Republican leadership whip effort tell Breitbart News that in the run-up to the Obamatrade vote, leadership was offering wavering members subcommittee chairmanships–specifically ones currently occupied by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)94%
and House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)92%
. If leadership continues their tirade against members who vote their conscience, it’s likely this situation will only get uglier.
By Alexander Bolton – 06/16/15 03:46 PM EDT
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that he and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) have consulted with President Obama on passing fast-track trade authority after it suffered a big setback last week.
McConnell believes the trade package passed by the Senate in May can still make it to Obama’s desk despite getting blown up in the House last week.
“The speaker and I have spoken with the president about the way forward on trade,” McConnell told reporters. “It’s still my hope that we can achieve what we’ve set out to achieve together, which is to get a six-year trade promotion authority bill in place that will advantage the next occupant of the White House as well as this one.”
The House on Friday narrowly passed fast-track authority but it defeated accompanying legislation to extend Trade Adjustment Assistance, a program aiding workers displaced by foreign competition. Both measures needed to be approved for the package to be sent to Obama.
The Senate passed fast-track and TAA in a single passage and it’s unclear whether the Senate would accept sending only trade promotion authority to the White House. The administration has also insisted the two issues should be paired.
“Obviously there was a malfunction over in the House on Friday that we all watched with great interest and we’re not giving up. We still think there may be a path forward to get an achievement here that we’d like to get,” McConnell said.
The House on Tuesday passed an extension giving them until the end of July to figure out how to finish work on Obama’s trade agenda.
“We’ve not given up passing TPA. We think it’s an important accomplishment for the country,” McConnell said.
He emphasized the national security implications of using fast-track to pass a massive trade deal with 11 other countries known as the Trans Pacific Partnership later this Congress.
“We think it’s absolutely essential not only for our commercial advantage but also it has an important defense and foreign policy component to it as the countries on the Asian Pacific rim would like to have a greater relationship with us as a hedge against an increasingly expansive China,” he said.
But McConnell declined to reveal his precise plans.
“We’ll let you know the way forward,” he said.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) suggested that the onus was on Obama and Democrats to find the votes to get the trade package across the finish line.
“We happen to agree with him on the policy on this, and we’re working with the White House,” he said. “But ultimately the responsibility to produce the votes has to fall to the president and to the White House and to Democrats.”
House Republicans on Tuesday voted to give lawmakers until the end of July to figure out how to pass the trade package.
Jordain Carney contributed.
This story was updated at 7:18 p.m.
President Obama went to Capitol Hill Friday morning to make a final plea to congressional Democrats for his trade agenda, ahead of a showdown vote in the House.
The president met with House Democratic leaders ahead of a caucus meeting. While it is extremely rare for a president to make a visit like this before a big vote, the last-minute lobbying comes after the president also made a surprise appearance at the annual congressional baseball game between Democrats and Republicans the night before. His personal involvement underscores how fragile the effort is — Fox News is told the effort is still short on the votes — and how important he sees it to his second-term legacy.
The night before, a bizarre scene unfolded as the crowd crammed inside Nationals Park lurched into a chant about the legislation.
“TPA! TPA! TPA!” chanted Republican congressional aides seated near the first base dugout when Obama stepped onto the field at the top of the fourth inning.
This wasn’t quite the drunken, Bronx throng at Yankee Stadium cantillating “Reg-GIE! Reg-GIE! Reg-GIE!” after Reggie Jackson swatted three consecutive home runs in Game Six of the 1977 World Series. This was gamesmanship, Washington-style. A game in which most congressional Republicans find themselves backing the Democratic president’s efforts to pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), a framework for a big trade deal the administration hopes to advance later this year.
TPA, which would give the president the ability to “fast-track” future trade deals, is one of two bills due up in the House on Friday. And it’s anybody’s guess if the bills will pass. Members of Congress may have been mixing it up on the diamond. But there is just as much gamesmanship underway on Capitol Hill as lawmakers try to leverage passage or defeat of the trade legislation.
Stage set for vote to give Obama fast-track trade authority
First, the basics.
Most House Republicans want to approve TPA. But they don’t quite have the votes to do it on their own. They need Democratic support. Yet the irony is that even though Obama is pushing the deal, only about 20-plus House Democrats support their own chief executive on this issue.
So various political gambits kick in.
Republicans find it absurd that Obama can’t persuade more than two-dozen Democratic members to support the trade plan. Conversely, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is stunned that House Republicans, boasting a 246-188 majority, can’t excavate at least 200 GOPers to approve the package.
So Pelosi and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, cut a deal. Neither side promised a certain number of votes to the other. But both House leaders forged a plan which could conceivably reward both sides with a political victory and concurrently test their respective abilities to gin up votes.
Pelosi and Boehner engineered a deal to advance the trade framework to the floor – so long as Democrats scored a vote on something called Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA).
TAA is a program near and dear to the hearts of many Democrats. It’s a method to cushion the blow for various workers and industries damaged by business reallocations in trade agreements. So House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., teed up two votes for Friday: One for TAA and one on TPA. But a TPA vote was contingent on the House first adopting TAA. The procedural maneuver would require Republicans to carry most of the freight to adopt TPA. But to get there, Democrats would be expected to provide the lion’s share of votes for TAA. If the House doesn’t approve TAA, everything comes to a screeching halt and there’s no vote on TPA.
Further complicating matters, Pelosi has spoken openly against the trade accord but has yet to definitively say how she’ll vote.
Capitol Hill is weird. Weird enough to have Republicans serving as Obama’s TPA cheerleaders – both at the ballpark and in the House chamber. It’s even weirder to have House Democrats working against Obama on this. And then there’s Pelosi – stuck in the middle.
On trade, Pelosi is a switch-pitcher. She’s trying to keep the Democratic caucus from embarrassing Obama with a paltry vote total for TPA. Yet she’s working to make sure most of her caucus gets what it wants: a defeat of TPA. At the same time, Pelosi secured a deal for the TAA vote – which could help pass TPA … or blow it up.
Major League Baseball has a rule for ambidextrous pitchers, few as there may be. Such cross-hurlers must first declare whether they intend to pitch left-handed or right-handed to each batter. There’s no such rule on Capitol Hill. That’s why when it comes to trade, Pelosi is chucking political curveballs from both sides of the mound.
But Democrats are working against Pelosi. A senior House GOP leadership source says Republicans can only provide 50 to 70 votes for TAA. Democrats must make up the difference. However, many Democrats now see a means to an end. Some intend to vote no on TAA simply to detonate the entire process and never get the TPA bill to the floor — which they so despise.
The House nearly voted to truncate the entire process before the first pitch, coming close to voting down a procedural vote just to get the measures to the floor.
Some observers interpreted the uneven procedural vote as a harbinger of things to come Friday on the trade bills. Some lawmakers wondered if Obama – fresh off his dugout diplomatic mission — might ring up lawmakers and implore them to vote aye.
One longtime Democratic member doubted that would happen, noting that Obama had already done all of the calling he could do.
There are games here, too. The same lawmaker signaled that some colleagues might not even take the call if the president phones. In fact, they might even keep their phones switched off.