House speaker John Boehner on Sunday dismissed reports that conservative rivals are planning to oust him following a deal to avert a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), amidst rumours that he promised a vote on a “clean bill” on the issue next week.
Reports of a coup against Boehner began over the weekend, following a last-minute vote in the House of Representatives which secured just one additional week of DHS funding. Boehner had earlier failed to secure a three-week funding extension following a revolt of more than 50 conservative Republicans, who argued the move was a concession to the White House in the battle over Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
Speaking to CBS on Sunday, Boehner argued that dissent within the party was only over tactics, adding that he was still committed to fighting Obama’s executive action , which will defer deportation for more than 5 million undocumented immigrants in the US.
“We do have some members who disagree from time to time over the tactics we decide to employ,” Boehner said. “Remember, Republicans are united behind the idea that the president has far exceeded his constitutional authority and we all want to do things to stop the president from his illicit activities.”
Boehner reportedly promised the Democratic House minority leader Nancy Pelosi a vote on a “clean bill” next week. Asked what assurances he had given to Pelosi, Boehner was elusive.
“The promise I made to Miss Pelosi is the same promise I made to Republicans, that we would follow regular order,” he said.
Asked if he believed he could continue to lead the House in the face of opposition from conservative members of his own party, Boehner replied: “I think so, I think so. I’m not going to suggest it’s easy because it’s not. But remember what’s causing this. It’s the president of the United States overreaching.”
Jim Jordan, a member of the so-called “freedom caucus” who voted against Boehner’s DHS proposal on Friday, appeared on CNN and repeatedly denied there was a move to oust the speaker.
Asked three times if he would back a move to get rid of the the speaker, Jordan responded: “That’s not going to happen. That’s not the issue.”
Some Republicans have expressed outrage at the tactics of their more conservative colleagues during Friday’s vote. Congressman Devin Nunes, a Boehner supporter, described the 52 Republicans who voted against the three-week DHS extension as “phony conservative members”.
“I prefer to be in the arena voting than trying to placate a small group of phony conservative members who have no credibly policy proposals and no political strategy to stop Obama’s lawlessness,” Nunes told the LA Times .
Before the last-minute deal was passed on Friday, the White House prepared contingency instructions for the thousands of DHS workers who would be affected by a partial shutdown of the department.
Boehner said he would push for a joint conference between the House and the Senate to nail down terms of continued DHS funding. The Senate passed a longer-term “clean” funding bill on Friday, containing no mention of the president’s executive actions.
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