John Boehner’s Not Giving Mark Meadows the Chance to Oust Him

The speaker isn’t going to bring up Rep. Mark Meadows’ resolution to take away his gavel.

House Speaker Boehner John Boehner (R-Ohio) speaks to the media on U.S. Capitol May 21, 2015 in Washington, DC.
National Journal
July 29, 2015, 10:57 a.m.

House Speak­er John Boehner isn’t scared of the one rogue and dis­sat­is­fied mem­ber in his con­fer­ence try­ing to oust him.

In his press con­fer­ence Wed­nes­day, Boehner said he’s not at all wor­ried about Rep. Mark Mead­ows’s move Tues­day night to take away his speak­er’s gavel.

“Listen, you have a mem­ber here and a mem­ber there who are off the re­ser­va­tion,” Boehner said. “No big deal.”

Mead­ows’s move was seen by many as more sym­bol­ic than any­thing else. In or­der to pass the “mo­tion to va­cate the chair,” the North Car­o­lina Re­pub­lic­an would need sweep­ing sup­port. While Boehner has faced back­lash from con­ser­vat­ive mem­bers of his con­fer­ence be­fore, he has al­ways eas­ily sur­vived re­buffs. A re­cord num­ber of law­makers voted against him for speak­er in Janu­ary, but he still eas­ily took the po­s­i­tion. Some of Boehner’s al­lies have called on the speak­er to bring Mead­ows’s res­ol­u­tion up for a vote just to show how much back­ing he ac­tu­ally has in the con­fer­ence. Boehner says that is a waste of time.

“Listen, this is one mem­ber. All right. I’ve got broad sup­port amongst my col­leagues,” Boehner said. “And frankly, it isn’t even de­serving of a vote.”

Boehner is just one GOP lead­er on Cap­it­ol Hill who has taken flack from rank and file con­ser­vat­ives lately. Earli­er this week, Sen. Ted Cruz went to the Sen­ate floor to blast Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell as a li­ar.

When asked if he and Mead­ows had spoken since the in­cid­ent, Boehner replied, “I have not, why?”

Mead­ows him­self told re­port­ers Wed­nes­day that he may not be con­sid­er­ing a dis­charge pe­ti­tion after all, just one day after his spokes­wo­man said he would. The pe­ti­tion would need sig­na­tures from 218 mem­bers, which could in­clude Demo­crats, to force the mo­tion to a vote.

“That was nev­er really part of the plan. I think what people looked at is a num­ber of is­sues on how this would be called up, but really that was not part of the plan,” Mead­ows said.

That may be be­cause Mead­ows was find­ing little sup­port from mem­bers of the House Free­dom Caucus, who were quick to dis­tance them­selves from his move. One mem­ber, Rep. Trent Franks, who voted for Boehner for speak­er, said the move is ill ad­vised, and that if it did come to a vote Demo­crats could ex­ploit it to push for a speak­er more lib­er­al than Boehner.

“The Free­dom Caucus didn’t do this,” Franks said. “I can’t sup­port this. I think this could put us in a situ­ation where a few lib­er­al Re­pub­lic­ans could team up with the Demo­crats and elect a speak­er that would be far to the left of John Boehner.”

Rep. Richard Nu­gent, who is not an HFC mem­ber but who voted against Boehner in Janu­ary, noted that the is­sue tramples the party’s mes­sage go­ing in­to the Au­gust re­cess: that the nuc­le­ar agree­ment with Ir­an is a bad deal.

“I think this is a poorly timed stunt, be­cause it really takes our fo­cus off of what we should be talk­ing about to the Amer­ic­an people, and front and fore­most is the Ir­an agree­ment,” Nu­gent said. “This just clouds that is­sue. I think it’s fool­ish.”

This art­icle has been up­dated.

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