Big Senate vote propels stopgap spending bill

A new Speaker will have all the same problems of Speaker Boehner and a slow, steady diminution of his political authority if he takes over and runs the House like a fiefdom. If Republicans unify control of the government next November, the thirst for action from the hard right will be overwhelming. The measure is expected to stall in the upper house but could be a prescient signal of the fight that lies ahead.


This isn’t an unfamiliar situation. In an unusual rebuke, even fellow Republicans denied him a “sufficient second” that would have allowed him a roll call vote.

The White House quickly praised the House vote in a statement. He wouldn’t budge because he didn’t have enough votes and thought it would have been a waste of time.

While conceding that Boehner might have to enlist Democratic support to manage a few of his priorities, Wolfensberger said, “He’s not going to go off the deep end by any means”.

The common goal of the White House and Congress is to undo the so-called sequester cuts that they agreed to in 2011, when Boehner first became speaker with the House majority. So he’ll be able to bring a clean funding bill to the floor without worrying about what conservatives think.

The legislation finances the government through December. 11, providing 10 weeks to negotiate a more wide-ranging budget deal that would carry past the 2016 presidential election.

Democrats helped beleaguered House Republican leaders pass the measure by 277-151 – a lopsided vote shrouding deep disagreements within the GOP – after the Senate approved it by a 78-20 tally earlier in the day. Congress had until midnight Wednesday to extend funding into the new fiscal year, which begins Thursday, or risk a government shutdown. The plan will extend current spending levels through December 11.

Obama has already said he wants an end to the sequester spending caps that he and McConnell engineered to raise the debt ceiling and that have already been broken once in the Ryan – Murray budget deal.

And again, its all because John Boehner is giving his seat to an extremist Republican. He also sought to prevent Iran, a known sponsor of terrorism, from accessing more than $100 billion, which he pointed out would be used to fund more terrorist activities. Never mind that an attempt to defund Planned Parenthood would have failed because Democrats would have blocked a vote on the issue in the Senate.

Protesters calling on Congress to defund Planned Parenthood in September 2015.

The talks are fresh and unlikely to be wrapped up before Mr. Boehner leaves office on October. 30. It is unclear whether his successor, likely Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.), would be interested in participating in them.

The loss left the bill’s mostly Democratic backers, like Senate leader Harry Reid, pessimistic.

We just don’t know yet.

Shifts among the leadership ranks depend primarily upon McCarthy’s bid for the speaker-if the California Republican moves up to assume the top Republican position, it creates an opening for majority leader and potentially majority whip, depending on whether Republicans elect Scalise to serve as their new majority leader.

For the next month, Speaker Boehner has a kind of legislative honeymoon.

McCarthy isn’t a particularly outspoken conservative, and he’s backed Boehner in previous violations of the Hastert Rule.

“He’s limited in what he can do, just being one member”, this person said. And since senators represent states rather than districts and have a far wider range of voters, they usually espouse more moderate views than representatives.

“It really should be about what we’re going to do to change the process here, so everybody can feel empowered in the process, and that was the beginning of the conversation”, he told CNN.


It’s worth remembering, though, that Boehner didn’t dictate decisions from the top down when he started out as speaker.

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz speaks during Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition's annual fall dinner Saturday Sept. 19 2015 in Des Moines Iowa.  MAGS OUT TV OUT NO SALES MANDATORY CREDIT Phot