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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Learning to Govern

At The Hill, Scott Wong notes that the leaders are publicly trying to take a hard rhetorical line against the Obama immigration plan.
GOP leadership aides are even distancing themselves from a comment from powerful House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) that angered GOP immigration hawks like Rep. Steve King of Iowa. Rogers suggested that conservatives’ efforts to defund Obama’s actions through an appropriations bill would be “impossible” because U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services gets its money from fees.
“Rogers was not prodded by leadership to do that,” a GOP aide told The Hill. “He was not speaking on behalf of leadership.”
At the same time, GOP leaders are working hard to get their own members on board the no-shutdown train.
They don’t want to be caught in a trap the White House sets to goad Republicans into shutting down the government or impeaching the president.
And their success can be seen in the fact that even GOP rabble-rousers are toning down the impeachment talk.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), an anti-immigration hard-liner in the Senate, ruled out impeachment on Friday. While King hasn’t gone that far, the vocal Obama critic acknowledged that pursuing impeachment would backfire.
“I’ll just say nobody wants to go there,” King, who sat in the audience of Bill Clinton’s impeachment hearings in 1998, told reporters this week. “Those things don’t end well for our country. It divides our country and it pits us against each other.”
The Iowa Republican who sits on the Judiciary Committee has been pushing legislation to defund agencies in the government that would pay for Obama’s executive immigration order.
That points to the challenge for Boehner and his leadership team.
Still, other conservatives who have been thorns in the side of Boehner appear to be trying to help their leadership find a way out.
Alex Isenstadt and Kyle Cheney write at Politico:
What has changed is the underlying balance of power in the party and, perhaps, the terms of debate within the GOP over how to deal with the Democratic Party and its surprisingly aggressive leader. Obama might be behaving like a usurping monarch without a mandate, in the eyes of the newly powerful GOP, but no one is seriously threatening to impeach him — as Republicans have repeatedly done in past years. Nor, despite the angry rhetoric, does there seem to be a serious possibility of government shutdown.
Yes, outliers are still threatening actions that could lead to a stalemate a la 2013: Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon, voicing anger against the executive action in a way that typified many Southern and Western Republicans, called the move an “impeachable offense,” and earlier circulated a letter urging House Appropriations chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) to defund any presidential effort to supply work permits or green cards to illegals — potentially prompting a veto and a shutdown. The more than 50 representatives who signed the Salmon letter included many of the same House members who adopted the strategy in 2013 that led to a shutdown then.

And yet Rogers and the House leadership, as well as a substantial portion of the Republican caucus, have made it clear they’re not ready to take that course again. “People are being very thoughtful about this,” said Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is widely seen as a rising star in tea party circles. “I’ve heard no one mention a shutdown except the press.”