House Speaker John Boehner is feeling regret over the last fiscal deal. The deal, which did nothing to address Washington’s spending problem or tackle the debt, had many conservatives pointing the finger at Boehner. Some conservative House members organized a plot to unseat the embattled Boehner, which fizzled on the floor. Russell Berman of The Hill wrote on January 26 that Boehner said:
“Looking back, what I should have done the day after the election was to make it clear the House has passed a bill to extend all of the current tax rates, the House has passed a bill to replace the sequester with cuts in mandatory spending, and the Senate ought to do its work,” Boehner said. “We’re ready, able and willing to work with the Senate as soon as they produce a bill. It should have been what I said. You know, again, hindsight is 20-20.”
Matthew Boyle at Breitbart wondered if a more conservative House Speaker was emerging out of the ruins of this abysmal fiscal deal.
“In our meetings before Christmas, the President was so tired of me talking about when we were going to deal with an entitlement crisis that he looked at me and said: ‘Boehner, we don’t have a spending problem. We have a health care problem,’” he said in remarks before the group. “It gives you some idea of the challenge that we’re facing. For a guy who’s run up the deficit 60 percent—60 percent of the deficit has occurred under his watch—when you see this, and then you hear him say: ‘I am not going to negotiate on the debt limit. I am not going to deal with the debt limit. That’s Congress’s problem!’… Frankly, I think it’s irresponsible.”
“And given what we heard yesterday about the President’s vision for his second term, it’s pretty clear to me that he knows he can’t do any of that as long as the House is controlled by Republicans,” Boehner added. “So we’re expecting over the next 22 months to be the focus of this Administration as they attempt to annihilate the Republican Party. And let me just tell you, I do believe that is their goal—to just shove us into the dustbin of history.”
“These next couple of weeks, next couple of months, frankly, the next 20 months, are going to be a very difficult period for us…while we want to stand up and fight for more fiscal responsibility, want to stand up and find a way to move tax reform that will help our economy grow, to do the things we believe in, we’re going to be doing it in an environment that is going to be far more hostile than anything that I think we’ve seen for a long, long time. We’re going to have to make some big decisions about how we as a party take on this challenge. Where’s the ground that we fight on? Where’s the ground that we retreat on? Where are the smart fights? Where are the dumb fights that we have to stay away from? We’ve got a lot of big decisions to make.”
Boyle noted how his “No Budget, No Pay,” despite it’s unconstitutionality, is forcing Senate Democrats to hash out a budget for the first time in four years. However, given how his leadership has handled issues dealing with taxes and spending, expect more skepticism from the right concerning his ability to wage a “smart fight.”