Enough is Enough: John Boehner Must Go

Allow me to add my voice to that of my RedState colleague Bill S: after the events last week, [mc_name name=’Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B000589′ ] must step down as Speaker of the House. He has stabbed conservative Republicans in the back too many times, and the votes over funding the Department of Homeland Security, including Obama’s illegal executive amnesty, are merely what has finally pushed me over the edge.

Ever since Obama announced his executive order on amnesty back in November, conservatives have been pushing for Congress to reassert its Constitutionally delegated power over the purse and defund the order. The bill funding the Department of Homeland Security was our best chance to do so. As yesterday’s vote illustrates so clearly, Boehner doesn’t care what conservatives–the base of his part–think, and if his own caucus opposes a bill, he’s even willing to use Democratic votes to provide most of the majority he needs to pass a bill.

Jim DeMint has written an excellent article for Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal. Having been both a Representative and Senator and consistent voice for conservative Republicans everywhere, he understands the problems we face in Washington better than most. During his time on the Hill, he said he noticed a disturbing tendency among the GOP’s leadership:

The phrase I heard most often from Republican leadership while serving in the House and Senate was, “This is not the right time to have this fight.”

Whether the issue was balancing the budget, school choice, patient-driven healthcare, eliminating earmarks, raising the debt limit, ending big, crony handouts like the Export-Import Bank or any stand against the continued growth, favoritism and intrusion of big government, conservatives were always told to wait. Wait until conservatives have the majority. Wait until we have the White House. Wait until we are reelected.

We’re seeing that “wait” attitude in practice today as the House votes on a “clean” Department of Homeland Security funding bill. Despite the fact that Republicans have majorities in both the House and the Senate that were elected on a pledge to fight against President Obama’s executive amnesty, and despite forcing through a big spending bill at the end of 2014 with the promise they would fight later on Homeland Security appropriations, they are now punting the issue entirely.

To make this entire situation even more absurd, as he notes near the end of the piece, Republican leaders were the ones responsible for creating this strategy in the first place. However, once it came time to fight, they retreated yet again.

This is hardly the first time John Boehner has stabbed conservatives in the back, but of all his instances of cowardice, this one must stand out the most. Rarely, if ever, has the Executive Branch been so brazen in its breach of the Constitution or in its usurpation of the powers granted to Congress by that document. If he is not willing to stand up now, then when is he?

The alternative strategy proposed by John Boehner and his ilk is to punt the issue to the courts. The Supreme Court has ruled in the past that Congress has plenary power over who to admit into or expel or exclude from this country, going as far as to state in 1909, “over no conceivable subject is the legislative power of Congress more complete….” Nevertheless, the precedent being set here is a dangerous one. As [mc_name name=’Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’S001141′ ] eloquently explains:

Congress, so threatened, can never acquiesce to this action by funding it. The President has acted unconstitutionally, and it is the President—not Congress—who must back down. We are a coequal branch of government, delegated with the powers necessary to defend our institution and our constitutional role. We cannot and must not establish the precedent that we will fund illegal actions on the hope that another branch of government will intervene and strike down that illegal action at some later point. To establish such a precedent would be to empower any future President to demand Congress fund any unlawful decree, and then assert that Congress is ‘shutting down the government’ unless this illegal, off-the-books program is funded. Congress must reassert its waning power. We must reestablish the constitutional principle that the people’s representatives control the purse.

By refusing to stand up to Obama over funding his executive amnesty, John Boehner is every bit as complicit in this usurpation. What Obama started, Boehner finished by allowing it to stand, even though it meant relying on the Democrats in Congress over the vast majority of the members of his own party. Even if the courts overturn Obama’s executive order, the precedent of Congress surrendering its powers without a real fight remains, and the courts might not always be there to bail them up.

It’s time for John Boehner to step down as Speaker of the House. Each and every one of the 167 GOP members who voted against the bill should get to work on ousting him as party leader and replacing him with someone conservatives in and out of Congress can trust to defend the Constitution. Yes, they risk retribution, but as Bill S notes, “Committee assignments are not worth the damage that House and Senate leadership are doing to the Republican party and to the country by continuing to tolerate Barack Obama’s patently unconstitutional behavior.” I won’t go as far as he does and suggest that every one of the 75 GOP members who supported the bill must be primaried, but it’s more because I think we should focus our efforts on a few. In particular, Boehner must be our first target this primary season, and for the good off our party he must be defeated. Along with him we must target Majority Leader [mc_name name=’Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M001165′ ] and Majority Whip [mc_name name=’Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’S001176′ ], neither of whom are acceptable candidates for the Speakership if Boehner goes.

At this point, I think it is incumbent upon all of us to write our GOP Representatives and demand that they take action to remove John Boehner as Speaker of the House. It is simply unacceptable for him to remain in that position any l9nger.