A beleaguered House Speaker John Boehner is suddenly relying on Democrats rather than his fellow Republicans.
For the second day in a row, Wednesday, his House leadership team turned to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Democrats to help pass major legislation and overcome determined opposition from dozens of GOP conservatives.
It’s a far cry from January, when Republicans took control of both chambers of Congress, and Boehner, R-Ohio, returned to Capitol Hill buoyed by expectations of a fruitful relationship with the new Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell.
And conservatives fear it will swing the Republican agenda to the left, and push them permanently to the sidelines.
“We were hoping to move everything to the right,”Rep. John Fleming, R-La., told the Washington Examiner after casting a “no” vote on a bill authorizing spending on Amtrak, which passed with overwhelming Democratic support and substantial Republican opposition. “Looks like to me they are moving it to the Left. They’ve given up on us so they are going to the Democrats to get votes.”
The House easily passed the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act, which cuts federal funding authorization for Amtrak by 40 percent, but did not go far enough for conservatives. It also, reforms the railway’s accounting system so that the profitable Northeast corridor routes can keep and reinvest more money.
The bill passed 316 to 101, but 184 of the votes to pass it came from Democrats. The legislation, opposed by fiscal hawks at such organizations as Heritage Action and the Club for Growth, got 132 GOP votes, but 101 Republicans, including eight committee chairmen, voted against it. Those opponents came mostly from the party’s right wing, and Rep. Tom McClintock of California had earlier in the day tried to amend the bill to end federal subsidies for passenger rail entirely.
The vote came just one day after House Republican leaders pushed through a key bill with the votes of Democrats rather than of their own conference members. Tuesday’s bill funded the Department of Homeland Security until Sept. 30 without curbing President Obama’s executive order shielding millions of illegal immigrants from deportation. In that vote, too, conservatives were sidelined.
The $40 billion Homeland Security measure came to the floor after Boehner allegedly cut a deal with Pelosi, D-Calif., last week.
“Who is really running the floor over here?” Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., said. “John Boehner has so lost control of the House. He has to call Nancy Pelosi.”
Read complete article via Has Boehner taken left turn? | WashingtonExaminer.com.