Tea party group: Replace Boehner as speaker

A top Washington conservative group is calling for House Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) job.

In an e-mail to supporters, the Senate Conservatives Fund cites Tuesday's decision by House GOP leaders to allow a vote on a so-called "clean" debt ceiling increase. Conservatives have called for the GOP to seek concessions in exchange for a hike, but GOP leaders said they couldn't find consensus on any approach.

Here's partial text of the e-mail:

Republicans are giving up because they know that winning is impossible when their leaders are determined to lose. These leaders have telegraphed weakness to the Democrats and sabotaged conservative efforts so many times that Republicans now have no leverage. There's only one solution.

John Boehner must be replaced as Speaker of the House.

Conservatives helped Republicans win a majority in the House of Representatives, which made it possible for John Boehner to become Speaker. Unfortunately, he has chosen to ignore us and help President Obama enact his liberal agenda.

...

Unless we install a new leader who will actually go on offense, Democrats will never fear us and we will never have any leverage.

The group is launching a petition that seeks to encourage at least 15 House Republicans to refuse to support Boehner for speaker -- a move that would deprive him of a majority of the House and shake up the process.

By the time of the next speaker election, of course, the GOP majority could be bigger or smaller due to the 2014 election.

There is not yet a movement to replace Boehner as speaker, and he earned goodwill among some tea partiers during the government shutdown last year by giving them the latitude they needed to seek to defund Obamacare, even though the strategy didn't work.

And conservatives aren't united against a clean debt ceiling bill. Two leading House conservatives, Reps. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) and Justin Amash (R-Mich.), recently urged Boehner to simply pass a clean debt ceiling bill, acknowledging it was the most likely outcome.

The Senate Conservatives Fund is an increasing force in GOP primaries, often backing tea party-aligned candidates over establishment favorites. It has also called for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) removal and is supporting his primary challenger, Matt Bevin.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · February 11