Boehner Takes Vengeance After Surviving Speaker Challenge
House Speaker John Boehner just escaped losing his speakership when a group of Republican members of Congress tried to oust him in a surprise coup. According to one Republican member of Congress, Representative Mulvaney, there was a plan to install Representative Louie Gohmert as Speaker. Representatives outside the plot simply did not vote for Boehner as Speaker as an act of protest.
After Boehner survived the vote he quickly moved to punish those involved in the challenge and booted two Congressman – Reps. Daniel Webster and Richard Nugent – off the House Rules Committee in what will likely be the beginning of a campaign of retribution against those who refused to support Boehner as Speaker of the House.
The 2014 elections have given House Republicans a historic majority which gives Speaker Boehner a lot more options when looking to reward loyalty and punish disobedience.
Members are already making noises about reversing any punitive action by Boehner and the leadership, although the speaker’s allies warn that further retaliation could be on the way. The House Republican leadership is carefully reviewing the list of members who voted against the speaker and those who opposed a procedural motion in December on the so-called “crominibus,” the $1.1 trillion spending package to keep the government open through to September. Top Republican sources suggested that the process could take months to unfold.
The rebels don’t think they deserve anything other than respect from the leadership and their colleagues, and none suggested they were sorry about publicly seeking to oust Boehner. They are also aware that a price might have to be paid, especially with Boehner having more leeway on votes thanks to his enlarged majority.
While Speaker Boehner’s supporters are happy to see him cracking the whip it remains to be seen how far Boehner can really go against his fellow Republican Congressman. Many of those opposing Boehner are doing so because they do not believe he is conservative enough and align with the so-called “Tea Party” wing of the GOP. Though Boehner would surely like to go after them he also knows that they represent a large part of the base of his party.
We’ll see how far Boehner thinks he can carry out his vengeance and deterring would-be challengers while also not going too far and losing support from a much larger and more conservative caucus.
Photo from US House under public domain.