Tuesday’s breakdown in Republican discipline weakens Speaker John Boehner’s hand in White House budget talks and raises the chances of a government shutdown next month unless he and President Barack Obama greatly step up their game.
Fifty-four Republicans broke ranks with Boehner, leaving him suddenly dependent on Democrats to win House approval of a must-pass three-week spending bill to keep the government operating past Friday. Tea-party-backed freshmen contributed to the embarrassment, but an equal force was a set of more veteran conservatives — some with their own political agenda but also more willing to risk an immediate fight with the White House.
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From The Houston Chronicle:
There was U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, in her coveted State of the Union perch along the aisle. Wearing an eye-catching lime-green jacket, she got her brief moment of TV exposure and a handshake from President Barack Obama, as usual, as the president made his way into the august chamber of the House.
This time, though, instead of sitting in a bloc with her fellow Democrats, Lee sat beside a real live Republican, U.S. Rep. Pete Olson of Sugar Land.
The two Houston lawmakers were enthusiastic participants in the State of the Union “date night,” a bipartisan gesture prompted by the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., earlier this month.
The pre-speech curiosity was almost Oscar-night giddy — or maybe prom-night giddy — as lawmakers over the past several days paired off.
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From POLITICAL CORRECTION:
The tragic shootings in Tucson prompted calls for civility from politicians on both sides of the aisle, including Sen. Mark Udall’s (D-CO) proposal for Democrats and Republicans to sit together at the State of the Union. But yesterday on Scott Hennen’s radio show, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) — who is best known for his frequent bouts of incivility — vehemently rejected the idea of mixed seating at the presidential address. Responding to a caller who described Udall’s suggestion as a “slap in the face” to conservative voters, Broun [said:]
Our leadership said you do whatever you want to do. If you wanna sit with the Democrats, you can. If you wanna sit with Republicans, that you can. We’re going to have a conference next week and I’m gonna bring that up there. I already believe very firmly that it is a trap and a ruse that Democrats are proposing. They don’t want civility. They want silence from the Republicans. And the sitting together being kissy-kissy is just another way to try to silence Republicans, and also to show — to keep the American people from seeing how few of them there are in the U.S. House now. Then when people stand up to — what the Democrats are going to be doing when Barack Obama spews out all his venom, then, um, if they’re scattered throughout all the Republicans, then it won’t be as noticeable as if we’re sitting apart. So it is a ruse and I’m not in favor of it and I’m talking about it and I hope other members of the Republican conference in the House will not take the bait.
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From the NY DAILY NEWS:
House Speaker John Boehner is taking heat from some Democrats after skipping out on Wednesday’s memorial service for the shooting victims in Arizona and instead hosting a cocktail party for the Republican National Committee.
The Ohio Republican turned down President Obama‘s invitation to travel on Air Force One to Tucson, Politico reported.
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From the Guardian:
You’d think that John Boehner would have seen enough drunks blubbering into their drinks at his dad’s tavern to be wary of easy tears.
You know, that humble boyhood tavern in Ohio Boehner is always talking about, where he mopped floors and waited tables, until he eventually worked his way up to becoming the third most powerful man in America after Tuesday’s epic Republican midterms victory.
Whereupon Boehner, telling a story he must have told hundreds of times in his career, choked up in tears recalling his own accomplishments.
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From THINK PROGRESS:
In congressional campaigns across the country, GOP candidates are running ads tying the Democratic incumbent to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. One such candidate is Jim Renacci, who made headlines most recently when he told an African-American constituent that he wants to “get our federal government out of the way” on civil rights.
ThinkProgress caught up with Renacci, who is running against Rep. John Boccieri (D-OH) in Ohio’s 16th congressional district, at a town hall in North Canton this week. Renacci repeatedly levied the charge that Boccieri has voted with Pelosi 94 percent of the time. Therefore, since Renacci made a point that independence from one’s party leader was prized in the district, we asked him to give us one or two issues where he would break with a Speaker John Boehner.
Renacci could not name even a single issue where he would show independence from the Republican Party.
From THE DAILY CALLER:
It’s a tradition stretching back 130 years: Local and national candidates meet annually in Fancy Farm, Kentucky to deliver their best and most colorful one-liners against opponents and scream fiery speeches full of partisan red meat to a raucous crowd hungry to hear rhetorical arrows flung across the aisle.
Every year, thousands gather at the politically themed picnic hosted by St. Jerome Catholic Church in rural western Kentucky to hear rousing political speeches, and the event is known as the unofficial start of the campaign season in the state.
Unfortunately for one of this year’s speakers, Republican Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul, it seemed he missed the memo that he was there to excite members of the audience, not put them to sleep.
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