ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Politics and Social Issues»
  • United States Politics

John Boehner "Comes to Himself"

Updated on December 20, 2013

Pivoting to commonsense leadership style, John Boehner passes a two-year bipartisan budget through the House

Before closing the House of Representatives for Christmas break, Speaker John A. Boehner pushed through a two year bipartisan budget deal, signaling a change in his governing style. Written by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (Republican) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (Democrat), the budget provides “$63 billion in temporary sequester relief and $85 billion in mandatory savings,” their press release says. The additional spending is offset by $34 billion in revenue increases and $51 billion in spending reduction. “On net,” it says, “the bill will reduce the deficit by $23 billion over the next ten years.”

Representatives on both sides of the aisle made it clear that they did not get all they wanted, but they got the best deal they could with a divided government. Republicans argue that it is a retreat from the victory they had already won on cutting the deficit. Democrats argue that taxes on the rich should have been raised, and an extension on the unemployment insurance should have been included.

Like the prodigal son in the Holy Writ, John Boehner “came to himself” and brought the bill to the floor for a vote, breaking the Hastert Rule that had hindered him in the past from bringing a bill to the floor when the majority of his party opposed it.

Here, Boehner’s epiphany will be explored in the framework of the biblical parable of the prodigal son.

“And took his journey into a far country”

In 2010, the angry, newly-formed tea party sent to the House of Representatives a “gang” that gave the House a super majority, leading to Boehner’s election as Speaker. Ever since that time, he has been hamstrung by the tea-party, who seems determined not to compromise on tea-party goals. In February 2011, when Congress debated the issue of raising the debt ceiling, the tea party held out so long that it led to a downgrade of the AAA rating.

In such atmosphere, nothing could get accomplished without brinkmanship. At times, Boehner showed signs that he wanted to cut a deal, but the contentious tea party members would not bend a bit. For example, it was reported that President Obama spent weeks behind closed doors with Boehner, crafting what was called a “grand bargain,” but the tea party caucus would not buy it. In order to pass the Budget Control Act in 2011, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Biden agreed on $2.3 trillion deficit reduction, which included what came to be known as “the sequester.”

Embolden by the win, Boehner chose to abandon commonsense governing and live in the land of the “crazy,” carrying the ball for the so-called “crazies,” which caused the government to lurch from crisis to crisis.

“And when he came to himself”

The Government shutdown in October caused Boehner to rethink his predicament. Before the shutdown, he spent months trying to avoid it, according to Politico, but “despite his backroom pleas and carefully crafted strategies, he was unable to convince [the] hard-line faction of the House GOP lawmakers that they should save their legislature brawls for the debt ceiling fight.” Not able to reach a deal that hardliners would support, the government was shut down for 16 days and cost between $2 billion and $6 billion in economic output, according to an Office of Management and Budget report.

After the shutdown began, the Speaker led the house to pass bill after bill to lessen the impact, but, in most cases, the Senate would not go along. Finally, Mich McConnell negotiated a deal and the Senate passed it and sent it to the House. Depending upon Democratic votes, Boehner brought to the floor and passed a $986 billion Senate bill that funded the government for three-months.

The agreement included passing a budget within that time. But before the bipartisan bill, crafted by Ryan and Murray, was presented to House members and posted for reading, outside conservatives groups opposed it. Angered by such, Boehner came to himself and took to the airways and slammed them, saying “They are using our members, and they are using the American people for their own goals.” Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post wrote: “John Boehner is mad as hell, and he’s not going to take it anymore.”

Boehner’s words stood in stark contrast to what he had been saying for the past three years. So “why is Boehner now so willing to deride and taunt the groups whose outsized influence has stoked the already-testy relationship between him and his caucus’s right wing?” This Week article asks. The answers given: “The GOP got creamed in the government shutdown.” The party’s approval rating is in the tank. The shutdown “was the culmination of three years of Tea Party intransigence that repeatedly scuttled Boehner’s legislative efforts and imperiled his job.” And he had a “new-found conservative shield…in Paul Ryan.” These are some of the reasons Boehner came to himself and derided the tea party, according to the article.

The foremost thing here is now why he came to himself but that he did, passing through the House a two-year bipartisan budget bill by 332 to 94, with 169 Republicans and 163 Democrats voting for it and 62 Republicans and 32 Democrats voting against. The Senate, on Wednesday, passed the bill 64 to 36.

“And he arose, and came to his father”

John Boehner’s returning to his Republican establishment status and passing the bill should have been met with hallelujahs; instead it was met with mixed responses. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid praised him, saying “I think it was a breath of fresh air,” he said in a press conference.

The White House released a statement saying the deal “a positive step forward for the nation and the economy.” But it emphasized that the bill does not include everything the President wanted but “marks an important moment of bipartisan cooperation and shows that Washington can and should stop governing by crisis…”

The right wing responded negatively. Republican Senator Ran Paul said the bill is a “charade” and is “worse than the status quo, which is already at an unacceptable level of spending and debt. It is not a budget deal; it is surrender. It is a cave in. It is a shame,” according to The Washington Post. Sarah Palin chimed in with a threat, not only to Boehner but to all who support the bill. “2014 is just around the corner,” she said. “If any member of Congress thinks raising taxes and increasing spending is a winning strategy to run on, then, by all means, they should vote for the Ryan Budget. We’ll be watching,” The Washington Post reported.

Tea party members called the deal elitist and a declaration of war. “It’s just another example of D.C. elitism,” Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, told ABC News reporter Abby Philip. “It’s sad that this conflict has broken out into a civil war,” wrote Daniel Harowitz, Policy Director of the Madison Project. “There can be no reconciliation between those who seek power and those who seek to serve in order to restore our Republic.”

Senator Marco Rubio opposed the bill because it will create a crisis that will shut down the government for good, he told Fox News. “I don’t want a government shutdown, and that’s why I oppose the deal because I think this budget actually contributes to the day that we are going to have a real shutdown of government, not because Congress can’t pass a law, but because we have a debt crisis.”

The Club for Growth responded: “We stand with Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Tom Coburn, Rand Paul, members of the Republican Study Committee and every other fiscal conservative who opposes…the deal.”

Overall, the country should be grateful that John Boehner got fed up with tea partiers, who seem be hell-bent on destroying the government and demeaning the President. Coming to himself and passing the budget deal, he may have saved the nation and the Republican Party—and even himself.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)