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John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, could pass reasonable legislation if he were in fact the Speaker of the House. However John Boehner has ignored the Constitutional obligations of that office, a position that also makes him number three in the line of Presidential succession, and rather has been acting as speaker of the Republicans in the House. As a result he is a prisoner of the radical Republicans, which represent a majority of his caucus, and our country has been put in jeopardy.

Democrats in the House would be more than willing to pass the bill already passed by the Senate which would preserve tax cuts for people making less then $250,000. They would also be willing to enact reasonable things to implement the savings that would not jeopardize the most vulnerable in our country or hurt the recovery. Bills like that could pass with only a few dozen votes from reasonable Republicans. But the Speaker of the Republicans John Boehner is unwilling to bring bills like that to the floor. He won't do it because he does not view his role that way. He sees himself only as the leader of the Republicans with no responsibility to the country.

The situation we see now with Boehner is quite unusual. Here is but one example of many of how the House and the Speaker are supposed to function. In 1991 the House of Representatives was controlled by the Democrats and Tom Foley was the Speaker. President George H. W. Bush wanted to go to war against Iraq. The Democratic leadership of the House did not support going to war. Nonetheless, Tom Foley, the Speaker of the House, understood that it was his responsibility to bring the Iraq war resolution to the floor of the House for a vote. The resolution passed by a vote of 250 to 183. Foley brought that resolution to the floor even though he voted against it and only 86 of the 265 Democrats in the House supported the resolution. The Republican vote was 164 to 3.

Whether you supported or opposed the Gulf War resolution there is no question that it was a matter that deserved to be voted on and that since we are a democracy, the majority should prevail. The same is true today. On major legislation that is supported by the President, the Senate, and a majority of Americans, the Speaker has an obligation to bring it to the House for a vote. He has that obligation even if he opposes it and even if a majority of his caucus opposes it. That is how our government is supposed to operate that is how the Speaker of the House is supposed to lead that body.

It is high time that Boehner become the Speaker of the House.

Personally, I hope nothing happens before the new Congress is sworn in. There is no cliff, but there are some things that need to be done early next year such as extending unemployment insurance, the Medicare doc fix, more stimulus, adjusting the sequester and eliminating or pushing off the debt limit silliness. But none of that will pass if Boehner refuses to behave like the Speaker of the House.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Serendipity, freelunch, MPociask, mslat27

    Further, affiant sayeth not.

    by Gary Norton on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 06:48:23 AM PST

  •  I see no reason (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nsfbr

    for Democrats to provide any votes for Boehner on anything.

    If a bipartisan coalition emerges in the House, it should be under the leadership of a Democratic Speaker, ideally Nancy Pelosi.

    When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

    by litho on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 06:55:49 AM PST

    •  That cannot happen until after the 2014 (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nuketeacher, MPociask, mslat27

      election. There is a country to govern between now and then.

      Further, affiant sayeth not.

      by Gary Norton on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 06:59:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Convince 17 or 18 Republicans to vote (0+ / 0-)

        for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker instead of John Boehner or any other Republican, and it will happen in two weeks.

        I don't know if those votes are there in the Republican caucus, but I do know the Tea Party is being increasingly exposed as utterly divorced from reality.  That's only 60-80 members, however, which leaves about 150 or are more moderate, and more generally sane, than the extremist wing of the party.

        As you say, we have a country to govern.  The Tea Party is making that task impossible, so a grand bargain to split the GOP becomes increasingly more likely.

        Let's go for it.  It's within reach.

        When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

        by litho on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 07:32:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The Democrats need to make it clear to Boehner (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gary Norton

      That he cannot win if he keeps trying to win with only Republican votes. It does make sense for them to refuse to vote for anything he wants until he finally realizes how hopelessly foolish he is being.

      Hey, hey, NRA, how many kids did you kill today?

      by freelunch on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 07:19:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I agree with the sentiment (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gary Norton, FG

    But wish there were some more examples of how the House has been recently run - Pelosi, Hastert, Gingrich?  It seems it has been a partisan operation for a long time.

    •  The House stopped operating as it (0+ / 0-)

      historically did when Republicans took control in 1995 with Gingrich becoming Speaker. That is when he announced that no bill would be brought to the floor unless it could pass with just the votes of the Republican caucus.

      During the two years of the Nancy Pelosi's speakership I don't ever recall any issue coming up that raised the question but she never took the position adopted by Gingrich. Since Boehner has been Speaker the Republicans have reverted to the Gingrich formula.

      Further, affiant sayeth not.

      by Gary Norton on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 07:35:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not convinced that by 1/3/2013 Boehner will (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gary Norton, MPociask

    be at the helm any longer.

    But, that aside, the underlying issue is clear - you need something to move the elephant of the dime.

    So, what would that be?

    An exhibition of self-immolative public spirit by Boehner, resulting in his certain ouster as Speaker of the House. He brings up legislation which would fail the Hastert rule, becaue it is the right thing to do. Personally, I think this has a low likelihood - Boehner never has struck me as soemone willing to fall on his sword. (Could be different this time, it is walk before they make him run territory).

    Perhaps it is simply waiting for the tax rates to jack up automatically - then the negoatiations take on a tenor far more favorable to winger ears, "cut, cut, cut" - even if all they are cutting are taxes, even if all they can squeeze is the 98% offer.

    Perhaps it is the installation of a new Speaker, presuming that New Year's Day is very, very unahppy for Boehner. But, though pressure for Boehner to go seems likely, it seems unlikely to result in the installation of a more reasonable leader for the House majority.

    So, we are left with going over the cliff, then quickly staunching newly opened fiscal wounds.

    •  Boehner has already gotten the support of his (0+ / 0-)

      And they will undoubtedly we'll let him as Speaker on January 3. Most people think that he was not willing to buck his caucus until after the new Congress is seated to ensure that he did get a majority of their votes. However, if there were to be a split in the caucus when they vote in January, it would result in Pelosi being elected Speaker. to the best of my knowledge no leader of the minority party in the house has ever been elected Speaker.

      Further, affiant sayeth not.

      by Gary Norton on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 07:40:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  don't they need a majority? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gary Norton
        However, if there were to be a split in the caucus when they vote in January, it would result in Pelosi being elected Speaker. to the best of my knowledge no leader of the minority party in the house has ever been elected Speaker.
        I'm not sure if works that way. I think they need a majority of the votes cast (as opposed to a plurality), but I'm not fully sure on that. Also, if a majority oppose a particular elected speaker (I'm sure even if they can't agree on anything else, all the Republicans will agree that Pelosi shouldn't be speaker!) then couldn't they force a re-vote?

        A more likely scenario in the event of a truly divided house Republican caucus would be Democrats and moderate Republicans agreeing on a compromise candidate and/or a comprise agenda (perhaps even Bohner though I suspect his speaker-ship would be much different if he was supported by a coalition of Republicans and Democrats) and voting together for that person.

        A similar situation has occurred in the New York and Washington state Senates in which leadership is to be controlled by such a coalition (in those cases it is a small number of moderate democrats who broke ranks with the Democratic party).

        •  Normally, yes - Gary's thesis assumes a majority (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          scotths

          composed of all Democrats and sufficient centrist GOP reps to push Pelosi's vote totals over the 50% margin.

          There were a couple of Speaker elections that toyed with plurality voting outcomes - but that needn't happen here.

          •  it seems highly unlikely to me (0+ / 0-)

            that a Republican would vote for Nancy Pelosi. Even if they determined they agreed with her policies or how she would lead the house more than they agreed with the (presumably very conservative) candidate the majority of the Republican caucus chose, I think the image she has (both fair and unfair) would make it politically impossible for them to vote for her. A split in the Republican vote leading to an inconclusive result followed by an emergence of a compromise candidate that both Democrats and Moderate Republicans can vote for seems much more likely to me.

            Normally, yes - Gary's thesis assumes a majority composed of all Democrats and sufficient centrist GOP reps to push Pelosi's vote totals over the 50% margin.

            There were a couple of Speaker elections that toyed with plurality voting outcomes - but that needn't happen here.

            Are you suggesting here that a plurality result could be binding in certain situations? If that is true, that would change the situation somewhat...

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