Boehner allies say he wants the pain to stop

In what is hardly a show of strength, some allies of House Speaker are signalling that this could be Boehner’s last term as Speaker and that he will relinquish the gavel in January 2017. This story is being spread as Boehner is facing a series of hard legislative battles plus an virutally guaranteed attempt to remove him from his position. Via POLITICO:

Figures in his close-knit circle of allies are starting to privately wonder whether he can survive an all-but-certain floor vote this fall to remain speaker of the House. And, for the first time, many top aides and lawmakers in the House do not believe he will run for another term as House leader in 2017.

“That’s a personal decision he has to make. I don’t know why he would want to, personally,” said [mc_name name=’Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’W000796′ ] (R-Ga.), when asked whether Boehner would run again. “But I do think that he feels, in his heart of hearts, he feels like he’s doing what’s best for this country — regardless of what the political consequences are. That says something about somebody.”

Another ally positions Boehner stepping down as an olive branch:

Some Boehner insiders argue privately that the speaker should announce that this will be his last term as leader, as a way to engender some goodwill and head off any imminent move against him. Others counter that would immediately make Boehner a lame duck and harm his No. 2 and potential successor, House Majority Leader [mc_name name=’Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M001165′ ], because agitators would have time to organize against the California Republican.

[mc_name name=’Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M001187′ ] has announced that he intends to carry through on his pledge to attempt to unseat Boehner:

Rep. Mark Mead­ows will be spend­ing his Au­gust re­cess collecting sig­na­tures to oust Speak­er [mc_name name=’Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B000589′ ].

After his mo­tion to re­move Boehner from Con­gress’s highest of­fice was shot down on the House floor Tues­day and sent to the Rules Com­mit­tee to lan­guish, Mead­ows’s of­fice said he would try a new route. The North Car­o­lina Re­pub­lic­an will at­tempt to cir­cum­vent the com­mit­tee pro­cess with a dis­charge pe­ti­tion that, if signed by a ma­jor­ity of House mem­bers, will force a vote to va­cate Boehner from the speak­er­ship.

“The next step will likely be to file for a dis­charge pe­ti­tion. This wasn’t something that Mr. Mead­ows took lightly; he wanted to al­low time and con­sid­er­a­tion for oth­er mem­bers,” Mead­ows spokes­wo­man Alyssa Farah said.

It is an un­likely scen­ario that has worked rarely in mod­ern Con­gresses, and for this par­tic­u­lar is­sue, Mead­ows would need to band with Demo­crats and enough con­ser­vat­ives to reach the threshold. Re­gard­less, his un­ex­pec­ted move on the House floor high­lights the con­tin­ued un­rest between Boehner and far-right con­ser­vat­ives in his con­fer­ence.

The res­ol­u­tion to “va­cate the chair,” as it is known, would have forced a vote to strip Boehner of the gavel, which would then have set up a vote to in­stall a new speak­er””or reelect Boehner. But GOP lead­er­ship aides said it was filed as a non­priv­ileged res­ol­u­tion, which means that rather than trig­ger­ing an im­me­di­ate vote on the House floor, it was re­ferred to the Rules Com­mit­tee, which is packed with Boehner al­lies.

Even if he fails in this attempt, Meadows has told Boehner’s chief of staff that this is not a mere stunt, that he intends to persevere until he gets a vote.

If Boehner decides to survive there is precious little that anyone can do about it. While I applaud Meadows’ cojones, his huevos, if you will, as being worthy of any pilot of a kamikaze the brutal fact is that here will never be enough Republicans to vote to can Boehner and the Democrats will not join in because they are terrified of who may succeed him. So the GOP majority in the House will limp along from crisis to crisis without a coherent vision or plan of action. Even though Boehner knows he can’t be unseated absent some cataclysmic event, he isn’t taking things for granted and is spending more time shoring up support among the fraying fringe of his supporting coalition than he is on reducing the size and intrusiveness of government or combating Obama’s egregious overreach. The best thing he could do would be to step aside an let the caucus choose new leadership but that seems unlikely.

Will he step down in 2017? Or is that disinformation spread to tamp down the growing revolt in the GOP caucus? Only time will tell.