The Post articles on the House Republican revolt over the border bill and and the role Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) played in making it happen have nuggets of information that show why I’ve been harping about the possibility of impeachment since June.
As the article on the revolt notes, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his allies said they had the votes to pass a border bill that not only speeded up deportations but also had a $659 million price tag, which was considerably less than the $3.7 billion President Obama asked for. And then the bill was pulled from the floor — like so many others before it.
Why, exactly a year ago yesterday Boehner pulled a spending bill from the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development due to lack of support. A little more than a month later, on Sept. 11, 2013, Boehner pulled a temporary funding bill meant to stave off a government shutdown because the rank and file were upset it didn’t defund Obamacare. On Dec. 20, 2012, Boehner pulled his fiscal cliff “Plan B” proposal because it “did not have sufficient support from our members to pass.” Oh, and there was that vote on March 15, 2011, when Republican defections forced Boehner to rely on Democrats to pass a three-week spending bill to keep the government from shutting down then.
I highlight these moments along Boehner’s legislative trail of failure — and these are just the examples I could remember — to show his inability to stand up to the far-right-wing of his calamitous caucus. As you see, his problems pre-date the arrival of Cruz in the Capitol in January. But the freshman senator from Texas has successfully exploited the leadership vacuum in the House. And this key line in The Post’s Robert Costa’s story on how Cruz is cracking the conservative whip on Boehner is especially instructive.
The freshman senator also reminded them to be skeptical of promises from House leaders, particularly of “show votes” — legislative action designed to placate conservatives that carry little, if any, weight.
It’s that “designed to placate conservatives” phrase that jumped out at me. Many have argued that Boehner’s lawsuit against Obama is designed to placate conservatives who want to impeach the president for alleged offenses. But the rhetoric from Republicans, as exemplified by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) this week, will come back to haunt Boehner when his caucus realizes that his lawsuit won’t actually punish the object of their ire.
With all the talk of Obama’s lawlessness, his imperial presidency, his shredding of the Constitution, his acting like a king, his unwillingness to follow the laws as written by Congress, his use of executive action, etc., Boehner’s caucus will be right to wonder why they aren’t punishing him while he is still in office. This will especially be so if Republicans succeed in taking over the Senate in November. Once that happens, if past is prologue, Cruz will be leading the charge and Boehner will be powerless to stop him.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj