Monday, September 28, 2015

Republican Discontent Isn't Easing Up

At the Wall Street Journal, "GOP Discontent That Helped Sink John Boehner Isn’t Easing Up":
WASHINGTON—The tug-of-war within the Republican Party that helped end Rep. John Boehner’s career is likely to intensify this year both on Capitol Hill and in the tumultuous GOP presidential race.

The House speaker’s announcement Friday that he would leave Congress on Oct. 30 isn’t expected to mollify either the House’s most conservative faction, which is determined to take an unyielding stance in the face of fiscal deadlines, or dissatisfied GOP primary voters rooting for outsiders who have pledged to uproot Washington politics. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows political novices Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina leading the GOP race.

On Capitol Hill, tension is mounting between Republicans hoping to notch incremental progress in dealing with a Democratic president and hard-liners who say they would be willing to shutter the government. That struggle will play out both in House GOP leadership elections over the next few weeks and as lawmakers tackle several deadline-driven issues this winter, including a longer-term budget deal and the need to raise the federal borrowing limit, known as the debt ceiling.

Mr. Boehner’s resignation will ease the most pressing problem facing Congress: the expiration of the government’s current funding on Sept. 30. Lawmakers are expected this week to pass a stopgap spending bill keeping the government funded through Dec. 11.

He could also help his successor by pushing through other bills that could pass only with the help of Democrats, such as raising the debt ceiling or reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, moves that would be unpopular with some in the House GOP but seen as necessary by others. Mr. Boehner, who leaves office Oct. 30, indicated Sunday he might do so. “I don’t want to leave my successor a dirty barn,” he said on CBS . “I want to clean the barn up a little bit before the next person gets there.”

Any issues left hanging after Mr. Boehner’s departure will pose an even greater problem for his successor, likely Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.). The new speaker will take the gavel at a time when the most popular Republican presidential candidates are echoing the criticisms of congressional GOP leaders that poisoned Mr. Boehner’s reputation and strategy with many Republican voters.
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