Democrats: Boehner Promised Us a Vote on a Clean DHS Bill Next Week

Deal or no deal, House leadership will be tested next week.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reads a letter she sent to her colleagues in Congress urging support for a DHS stopgap funding bill.
National Journal
Feb. 28, 2015, 8:18 a.m.

House conservatives were told a shutdown-averting vote last night bought them a week reprieve to strategize a new fight against President Obama’s immigration orders. Democrats believe they’ve been promised a vote on a full-year funding bill by next Friday.

A week from now, one of those groups is going to be very disappointed — and likely irate at the deception of its own leadership.

House Democrats voted en masse Friday for a one-week continuing resolution to fund the Homeland Security Department, just hours after banding together to kill a three-week funding measure. Their votes switched at the urging of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who told members they would soon get a vote on the Senate-passed full funding bill.

“Your vote tonight will assure that we will vote for full funding next week,” she wrote in a letter to colleagues. Just what is behind that assurance was left unsaid, but Democrats believe Pelosi extracted a promise from House Speaker John Boehner for a vote on full funding next week.

“I think what changed was there was a commitment given that if we passed the one-week extension, they would agree next week to bring up the Senate clean funding for DHS, so I believe there was an agreement that was made,” said Democratic Rep. Janice Hahn. “We took [Republicans] at their word, so I hope it’s true.”

Multiple Democratic aides confirmed leadership had promised their bosses a vote on the Senate-passed full funding bill next week. Two senior Democratic staffers added that they had heard from both caucus leadership and the White House that Boehner had given them an agreement to allow that vote to take place.

Pelosi’s office would not confirm or deny a deal with Boehner.

Reports of such an agreement were vehemently denied by the speaker’s office. “No such deal or promise was made,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. Of course, confirming an arrangement to give Democrats the clean vote they want would surely draw outrage from Boehner’s right flank.

Whether one leader is lying to their caucus or the two misunderstood each other, their respective caucuses went to vote Friday with vastly different ideas of what the next week would hold.

Even Democrats who were tight-lipped about whether Pelosi had told them of a deal said they had read — and believed — reports of the arrangement. Rep. Anna Eshoo, a Pelosi ally, was among many in the caucus who said the minority leader would not have switched course on short-term funding without earning the best deal she could. “This wouldn’t have been accepted if that wasn’t going to be the case,” she said.

Still, Pelosi’s strategy was not completely without Democratic skeptics. “She also assured Democrats who she whipped to vote no this afternoon that, in the event of the failure of the three-week clean [continuing resolution], Mr. Boehner would have ‘no choice’ but to bring up the Senate bill tonight. How’d that work out?” said Rep. Gerry Connolly. He called the promised deal “an awfully thin reed on which to decide to vote for a one-week extension after you whipped Democrats to vote against a three-week extension.”

Meanwhile, Republicans, who have surely read those same reports, will be closely watching Boehner to see if he indeed brings a full bill to the floor. They were told the one-week extension would buy them time to force a conference with the Senate on the full-year funding bill, which they could then use to push for riders that would undermine Obama’s immigration orders. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has already said his caucus will block any such efforts.

If the conference is indeed blocked and the House votes on full funding, it will surely provoke outrage from conservatives who believe Boehner’s plan was to cave all along. Even Friday, 55 Republicans voted against the one-week measure, with many saying any “clean” funding that does not fight Obama on immigration is a concession they could not make.

And while the GOP’s distrust of its leadership is well-documented, it’s less clear what will happen if next week comes and goes without a vote on full funding. Democrats took a tough vote to block a three-week funding bill, only to turn around and approve the shorter plan. Members believed they were getting the vote they wanted in return, and if that doesn’t materialize, they will be looking for answers. Whether they’ll conclude Boehner lied to Pelosi — or that Pelosi misled them — is an open question, and one they’re hoping won’t have to be answered.

Rachel Roubein and Daniel Newhauser contributed to this article.
What We're Following See More »
TO DEMAND VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT MADURO STEP DOWN
Pence Traveling to Colombia
4 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

"Vice President Mike Pence will go to Colombia on Monday to speak with the Colombian president and regional leaders about the ongoing turmoil in Venezuela and rally the international community behind opposition leader Juan Guaidó." Pence "will deliver remarks to the 14 nations that are part of the 'Lima Group' in Bogota," and will meet with Colombian President Ivan Duque.

Source:
LIKELY TO FACE COMPETITION IN REPUBLICAN PRIMARY
Rep. Bradley Byrne Announces Bid Against Sen. Doug Jones
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne became the first official Republican entrant into the 2020 U.S. Senate race announcing his intention to run in a race that could become one of the most expensive political contests in Alabama history. Byrne, a three-term congressman from Fairhope, said he anticipates the fundraising during the lengthy 2020 campaign to eclipse the 2017 special Senate election, in which an estimated $50 million was spent during the contest. Democratic U.S. Senator Doug Jones, who narrowly defeated Republican Roy Moore in that election, raised more than $24 million."

Source:
TARGETS INCLUDED NANCY PELOSI
Coast Guard Lt. Planned Large-scale Terrorist Attack
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"A U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant and self-identified white nationalist was arrested after federal investigators uncovered a cache of weapons and ammunition in his Maryland home that authorities say he stockpiled to launch a widespread domestic terrorist attack targeting politicians and journalists...Though court documents do not detail a specific planned date for an attack, the government said he had been amassing supplies and weapons since at least 2017, developed a spreadsheet of targets that included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and searched the Internet using phrases such as “best place in dc to see congress people” and “are supreme court justices protected.”

Source:
AVOIDS SHUTDOWN WITH A FEW HOURS TO SPARE
Trump Signs Border Deal
5 days ago
THE LATEST

"President Trump signed a sweeping spending bill Friday afternoon, averting another partial government shutdown. The action came after Trump had declared a national emergency in a move designed to circumvent Congress and build additional barriers at the southern border, where he said the United States faces 'an invasion of our country.'"

Source:
REDIRECTS $8 BILLION
Trump Declares National Emergency
6 days ago
THE DETAILS

"President Donald Trump on Friday declared a state of emergency on the southern border and immediately direct $8 billion to construct or repair as many as 234 miles of a border barrier. The move — which is sure to invite vigorous legal challenges from activists and government officials — comes after Trump failed to get the $5.7 billion he was seeking from lawmakers. Instead, Trump agreed to sign a deal that included just $1.375 for border security."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login