A groundswell of support is growing among tea party conservatives to oppose Republican House Speaker John Boehner during a Jan. 6 re-election vote for the speakership that was once seen as “just a formality.”
“Right now, I’ve been meeting with a small group, and we — about 16, 18 — and we’re hoping to have a name of a sitting member of Congress that we can call out their name,” North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., said on North Carolina-based “Talk of the Town” radio.
Some conservative members of the House, like Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., have signaled — and not very subtlely — their desire for change at the top.
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) December 27, 2014
Outside Congress, the message is even plainer.
Writing in the Washington Times on Sunday, Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips savaged Boehner’s performance in a column headlined “The tea party’s new year’s resolution? Fire John Boehner”:
Mr. Boehner is the poster child for a Republican Party that believes in government of the special interest, by the special interest and for the special interest.
Mr. Boehner is not interested in what is best for real Americans, only what is best for the lobbyists who come through his door and their clients.
Boehner needs a simple majority to retain the post, so if all members vote he would have to get 218 out of 435 votes.
There will be 247 Republicans in the House after the 115th Congress is sworn in. That means conservatives could deny Boehner a majority if they can get 30 votes against him, forcing another vote.
Their hope is that this would embarrass Boehner into withdrawing from the race, making way for a more conservative to take over.
But it won’t be easy. Some members tried a similar tactic in 2013 to no avail.
According to the Daily Caller, some of the representatives opposing Boehner this time around include Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, Florida Rep. Ted Yoho and Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, among others.
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel indicated that the speaker is not concerned by the challenge.
“Rep. Boehner was selected as the House Republican Conference’s choice for Speaker last month,” Steel wrote in an email, “and he expects to be elected by the whole House next week.”
Perhaps he shouldn’t be so confident.
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