WASHINGTON — Several conservative members of Congress said Wednesday that they are not looking to oust Speaker John Boehner over his handling of the debt limit and government funding fight.
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio said there was “absolutely no talk” of trying to install a new Speaker during a Wednesday event with with conservative lawmakers.
“I’ve actually been really proud of Speaker Boehner the last two and a half weeks,” said Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador. ” I don’t think that he should be ashamed of anything that he has done.
On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced a deal to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government after being shuttered for 16 days. Though no decision has reportedly been made, Boehner might bring that bill to the floor, despite the fact that if offers Republicans little by way of Democratic concessions.
Conservatives acknowledged that they had most likely lost the shutdown battle but, they said, Boehner was not the one whom they faulted for that.
The blame, conservatives said, should be put on on the group of twenty some-odd moderate Republicans in the caucus, like New York Rep. Peter King, who have been urging Republicans to end their demands to delay or repeal all or part of Obamacare in exchange for funding the government or raising the debt ceiling.
“I’m more upset with my Republican colleagues to be honest with you,” said Labrador. “It’s been Republicans here that apparently always want to fight, but they want to fight the next fight, that has given Speaker Boehner the inability to be successful in this fight. So if anyone should be kicked out, it should be the Republicans and not Speaker Boehner, who are unwilling to keep the promises they made to the American people.”
“Those are the people who should be looking behind their back,” he added. “I don’t think Speaker Boehner has anything to worry about right now.”
Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp, who was one of twelve Republicans who voted against Boehner for Speaker in January, was less enthusiastic about the Republican leader, but said the blame still mostly resided with the so-called moderates.
“You’re talking to one of the twelve that thought we needed a new leader in January. You know, given how this place works I don’t think anything changes in that end,” Huelskamp said.
“But,” he added, “it’s pretty hard when he has a circle of 20 people that step up every day and say, ‘can we surrender today, Mr. Speaker? Can we just go away? Can we make it easy?’ Just whine and whine and whine. It’s not a surrender caucus, it’s a whiner caucus. And all they do is whine about the battle.”