A few minutes ago, House Speaker John Boehner faced the press following last night’s Plan B Implosion and declared that he does not think that the conservative rebellion was about him, and he does not fear losing his gavel. Majority Leader Eric Cantor was standing just feet away and, based on the angle provided by CNN, did not appear to be holding a dagger.
“No, I’m not,” Boehner said when asked if he was concerned about his speakership. “You’ve all heard me say this and I’ve told my colleagues this: If you do the right things every day for the right reasons, the right things will happen. Though we were not able to get the votes last night … I don’t think, they weren’t taking that out on me. They were dealing with the perception that someone might accuse them of raising taxes.”
Last night’s non-vote leaves the fiscal cliff negotiations in limbo, and Boehner said he would continue to work with President Barack Obama but gave no specifics about meetings or phone calls or plans. He said he needed more give from Obama and the Senate.
“We only run the House,” he said. “Democrats continue to run Washington.”
Deals are best done when all is quiet, so expect some behind-the-scenes movement over Christmas. Either that or we go skateboarding over the fiscal cliff, Homer Simpson-style. D’oh, indeed.
The scuttled “Plan B” avoided a tough vote for a lot of members, and even folks like Marietta U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey appeared ready to stick their neck out for the Speaker. Tom Price of Roswell, rumored as a Speaker possibility if the vultures start circling over Boehner, was typically tight-lipped. When I saw him in the hallway two hours before the vote was scheduled he declared himself undecided. Emerging from the caucus meeting at which Boehner told his troops to go home, Price told Buzzfeed: “Put me in the no comment camp.”
There are several good “scene pieces” out there this morning about Boehner’s failure. We learned that he said the “Serenity Prayer” to his colleagues and Rep. Mike Kelly, a former football player and used car dealer from Western Pennsylvania, tried to buck up the troops with a locker room-style speech. Politico gives us this tidbit: “for the first time, GOP lawmakers privately told POLITICO Thursday night that there are questions about Boehner’s grip on power.”
For now, those sources remain anonymous and the challenge ethereal. For now.
AJC statehouse ace Kristina Torres has the details on how one incoming Georgia lawmaker is proposing to loosen gun laws in the coming year.
State Rep.-elect Charles Gregory, who campaigned heavily on the Second Amendment and limited government power, filed four gun bills this week at the Capitol that would sweep away any restrictions on carrying firearms in Georgia — including on college campuses and in churches.
House Bills 26, 27, 28 and 29 would declare that “evil resides in the heart of the individual, not in material objects,” and would also bar the governor from suspending gun sales during an emergency.
It’s a splashy public entrance for Gregory in advance of the next legislative session, which starts Jan. 14. The bills, however, have not been vetted by leadership and are likely to go nowhere on their own. A spokesman for House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said it would be inappropriate to comment on the issue while victims were still being buried in Newtown, Conn.
Former Georgia Democratic U.S. Sen. Max Cleland is speaking up on behalf of former colleague Chuck Hagel, who is getting a Susan Rice-style pre-nomination bashing from his foes before his rumored appointment as Secretary of Defense. From Politico’s Mike Allen:
MAX CLELAND, former U.S. Senator (now serving as Obama’s appointee as secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission, which manages overseas military cemeteries), in a telephone interview with Playbook, on attacks on former Sen. Chuck Hagel: “It’s really a national disgrace. I could have a lot of profanity streaming towards those opponents, but I choose not to … It’s reminiscent of the attack against John Kerry by the Swift Boat crowd … It’s reminiscent of the attack against me in 2002 … Chuck has the wisdom of the battlefield, but also the wisdom of Washington. That’s the kind of guy I want to be the secretary of Defense.”
In other nomination news, word is leaking out that U.S. Sen. John Kerry will be your next Secretary of State. And therefore you can start your engines for another special election in Massachusetts and a possible Scott Brown comeback.
Soon-to-be-Sophomore U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, a Tifton Republican, landed himself a plum post for the new Congress: chair of the Agriculture subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture. From the news release:
“I am pleased to have Congressman Scott serve as a Subcommittee Chairman. I look forward to working with him in this new leadership role as we work to ensure the health and vitality of production agriculture and rural economies,” said Chairman Frank D. Lucas of Oklahoma.
Rep. Austin Scott commented, “I am honored Chairman Lucas has chosen me to lead this important Subcommittee. Horticulture, research, and foreign agricultural relations have and will continue to play a large role in our country’s economic recovery. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the subcommittee to develop legislation that will continue to help our farming communities.”
- By Daniel Malloy, Political Insider