Yesterday John Boehner, aka Agent Orange, proved that the Republican Party is too incompetent to govern, as their own Homeland Security extension came to the floor and failed. Leadership with such a large majority should at least know how their own caucus is going to vote to spare themselves the humiliation of such an incident. In the end, he had to obtain Democrats help so save his bacon, and more important, spare the country a DHS shutdown. Did he lie to her to obtain that help?
Republicans vowing to govern effectively as a congressional majority failed a fundamental test Friday, when House leaders only narrowly managed to avert a partial shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security after an embarrassing defeat earlier in the day.
The seven-day funding extension, approved by a vote of 357 to 60, came just hours before money for the department was to run out at midnight. The accord was reached after a stunning and humiliating setback for Speaker John A. Boehner and his leadership team earlier Friday, when the House voted against their original plan to extend funding for the department for three weeks — a position that Mr. Boehner had considered a fail-safe. More than 50 House Republicans defected, voting against the bill.
The speaker was rescued by Democrats, who supported his offer of a weeklong extension because they believed it would lead to a vote next week on full funding for the department through the fiscal year, without any provisions related to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration included in the House’s original legislation. A spokesman for Mr. Boehner said the speaker had made no promises or deals with House Democrats to guarantee such a vote.
“Your vote tonight will assure that we will vote for full funding next week,” wrote Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader, in a letter to her members on Friday night urging them to support Mr. Boehner’s seven-day funding measure. The House vote came after the Senate had already agreed to a seven-day funding extension.
About 10 minutes before the funding was set to expire, the White House announced that the president had signed the weeklong extension… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <NY Times>
Rachel Maddow covered the story of the conflict.
I see it this way. Pelosi never has had a problem with saying and doing things that will be unpopular with her base, such as her 2006 promise that the Democratic Party impeach or prosecute Texas Torquemada and Dead-eye Dick. Had she not received the promise she claims, she would have asked her caucus to support the one week extension anyway, because Democrats, Unlike the Republican Party, care about what’s best for the country. I’m sure she asked for the guarantee, however.
I think what probably happened is that Agent Orange made the promise, because he knows that, if DHS is shut-down, his party will have a PR disaster akin to the hit they took for shutting down the government. Putting a clean bill on the floor is the only way he can avoid that. So I think that he lied to his own caucus through his spokesperson, to temporarily avoid a noisy revolt.
The final question is this. Will he keep the promise he made, or will he cave-in to the Theocon and InsaniTEA wings of his caucus? After all, Republican promises have no value.