Thursday, July 30, 2015

Conservative Rep Meadows Files to Oust Boehner

Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC)

Sparks have flown before between House GOP leadership and more conservative members in the caucus. At one point, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah had announced to one of his sub-committee chairman colleagues, Mark Meadows of North Carolina, that he would be stripped of his assignment for his vote against Fast-Track trade promotion authority.

Conservative pushback from grassroots efforts and conservative media, plus the fact that his fellow committee members refused to comply with the move, forced Chaffetz and GOP leadership to back off.

Now, Meadow has thrown down the gauntlet, and challenged Boehner’ speakership outright. As an outstanding member of the House Freedom Caucus, he has established considerable influence with his conservative caucus members already and has pressured House Leadership already. NewsMax reports:

Emboldened by recent successes and growing membership rolls, the far-right House Freedom Caucus has plans to capitalize on its influence by trying to block GOP initiatives and demand others are altered to make them more conservative, Politico reports.

Blocking the renewal of the Export-Import Bank, raising spending caps and creating a "'Contract with America'-style manifesto of legislative proposals that it will lobby GOP leaders to take up" are among the caucus' plans, according to Politico.

This boldness has now reached a new height: dethrone Boehner, a rising sentiment echoed on ads blanketing conservative blogs, as well as conservative bloggers and radio hosts.

The Washington Post reports on Meadows’ move:

In a blistering resolution, Meadows slammed Boehner for causing the “power of Congress to atrophy” and using his office to “punish members who vote according to their conscience instead of the will of the Speaker.” The measure was referred to the Rules Committee, aides said.

No one has challenged sitting speaker in over 100 hundred years (the last time), and even then, the presiding officer retain the speakership

Included in the resolution, the Tar Heel Republican listed complaints like “bypassing the majority of the 435 Members of Congress and the people they represent” and causing “the power of Congress to atrophy, thereby making Congress subservient to the Executive and Judicial branches, diminishing the voice of the American People”, as well  as “continues to direct the Rules Committee to limit meaningful amendments, to limit debate on the House floor, and to subvert a straightforward legislative process.”

Harsh words, but Meadows is not alone.  Other House members have bemoaned the overbearing executive branch, including Executive Amnesty, among other Presidential acts of overreach. Meadows voted against reinstating Boehner before, too.

WaPo continued:

One of Boehner’s staunchest House critics, Rep. Walter Jones Jr. (R-N.C.), suggested that anti-Boehner Republicans might be trying to gin up support among conservative media  — a drumbeat that could get louder while lawmakers are home in their districts.

“I hope the talk show hosts who are so frustrated would pick up on this thing and beat the drum so loud that other members feel like they can be encouraged to join this effort to change the leadership of the House,” Jones said, according to DeBonis.

Similar efforts grassroots-media effort enabled Meadows to keep his committee assignment. Would a similar revolt from voters and new media sites force individual members to vote their conscience and constituency as opposed to party lines, corporate interests, and lobbying efforts?

Some complaints have suggested that Meadows is fomenting drama, not in the best interests of the House GOP caucus. Congressman Devin Nunes of California called the resolution a “fundraising tool”.

 The Macon, Georgia Telegraph called the Meadows’ resolution a “largely symbolic gesture” not likely to leave its first committee stop. Breitbart reporter Matthew Boyle offered a more dramatic and positive take:

It’s unclear if this will be successful, but over the past few years there have been two major coup attempts at Boehner. Both were unsuccessful—but extraordinarily close to succeeding—and centered around plays at the beginning of this Congress and the beginning of the last Congress.

This move will focus on centering around a different strategy, and it all comes after Boehner’s leadership team unsuccessfully attempted retaliation against Meadows for opposing Obamatrade.

Following US Senator Ted Cruz’ backlash against Senate Majority Leader McConnell, combined with the rising discontent among conservative voters expecting more confrontation from the entrenched House GOP majority and newly established US Senate GOP caucus, these upstart maneuvers from more conservative elected officials may find more success in the coming months, especially with the coming August recess.

Still, some members and outside partisans find this ouster less than outstanding. A petition has also begun on to have Meadows removed from office. CNN reported the frustration of another member, who asked to remain anonymous:

"We were all really angry, frustrated and saying, 'Why now?' We need to focus on the Iran deal," the member said. "This is the best thing that could happen to President Obama. He just took the focus off Iran."

The response from national sites and interest groups will more likely determine the long-term influence, for better or for worse, regarding Meadow’s attempts to steer the House GOP caucus toward more conservative legislative ends for the remainder of the 114th Congress.

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