Internal Splintering: Can Boehner Keep Republicans United?
Tension has been building nationwide ever since House Republicans tossed ObamaCare into the gears of the annual spending bill — grinding the government to a shuddering halt. For obvious reasons, this put Democrats and Republicans at each others throats, but recently even the Republican party has begun to bicker internally.
In a meeting of the House Republicans, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told his fellows that they were “locked in an epic battle,” and encouraged them to “hang tough,” according to a New York Times article.
From this, one might expect Congressman Boehner to be the rallying leader directing his party’s decisions, but even his fellow Republicans admit he’s not holding the reigns on this one — apart from trying to keep his party from splintering.
Rather, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is credited — or blamed — with being the catalyst and strategic leader behind the attempted attack on ObamaCare in the spending bill. “You really have to call Cruz, I’m not even joking about that. That’s really what you have to do, because he’s the one that set up the strategy, he’s the one that got us into this mess, and so we’ve got to know what the next move is,” said House Representative Devin Nunes (D-Calif.) according to the New York Times.
More farseeing Republicans are growing concerned about the American public’s perception, and who could blame them for feeling like simple reactionaries who may not have thought their decisions through fully when, according to the New York Times, Senator Cruz has offered nothing in the way of a plan when pressed.
Instead, Senator Cruz implied that his fellows were ceding to failure too easily — though one might argue that, with 800,000 federal workers furloughed and an expense growing by millions of dollars everyday, admitting defeat might not be so foolish.
The lack of a clear plan, paired with concerns over President Obama’s boosted popularity in response to Republican demands, has House Republicans facing concern and criticism from party members outside of Washington. One such Republican, Haley Barbour (former governor of Mississippi and past leader of the Republican National Committee) voiced frustration that “the only thing holding [President Obama] up are the Republicans,” and said Republicans would be better off getting “the best resolution we can under the Obama administration” and then moving on to new things.
If presented, a clean stopgap spending bill devoid of changes to Obamacare would likely to be passed by both parties, ending the shutdown — but Republican retaliation to this defeat would quickly lead to complications when the debt ceiling issue inevitably comes to the fore-front. According to the New York Times, Republican lawmakers have said that Boehner promised in confidence he would not permit a default in the national debt, leaving him between a rock and a hard place with no master plan from Senator Cruz to cushion this position.