John Boehner was rumored -- incorrectly -- to be planning to resign Wednesday night as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives following a series of embarrassments arising in large part from the intransigence of many in his party's far-right factions, whom he has had great trouble controlling.
Boehner, an Ohio Republican, has taken heat in recent weeks for his inability to get his party together to pass almost any bill that comes through the Congress.
He had a terrible time attempting to rally his own caucus to vote for a "fiscal cliff" deal, and he has for weeks been under fire for not being willing even to bring a vote on Hurricane Sandy relief funds to the floor of the House, where the GOP has been unwilling to support such a measure. When the last-minute fiscal cliff deal finally passed the House Tuesday night, it did so with Democratic votes, and most Republicans, including top leaders, voted no.
“Boehner is the one,” King said. “He walked off the floor. He refused to tell us why. He refused to give us any indication or warning whatsoever … I’m just saying, these people have no problem finding New York -- these Republicans -- when they’re trying to raise money. They raise millions of dollars in New York City and New Jersey, they sent Gov. [Chris] Christie around the country raising millions of dollars for them. I’m saying, anyone from New York and New Jersey who contributes one penny to the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee should have their head examined. I would not give one penny to these people based on what they did to us last night.”
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Christie also condemned the House Republicans, and Boehner in particular, saying their word could not be trusted.
The comments by King, combined with the ongoing furor over the lack of movement on a Sandy relief bill to help the thousands of people who need assistance more than two months after the storm hit the New York and New Jersey region, forced Boehner to announce on Wednesday that he in fact will let the bill go up for a vote, according to Reuters.
But the bad news continues to flow in for Boehner, as Politico released an article Wednesday on the "fiscal cliff" negotiations that has several sources quoting him as having told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to "go f--- yourself," then following that up by bragging about it to colleagues.
Does all the bad press and criticism mean that Boehner is going to resign from his position at the helm of the dysfunctional House of Representatives, half of a legislature that the Minneapolis Star-Tribune dubbed the "worst Congress ever" last week?
That is the rumor, and it is being spread by a number of prominent commentators and politicos, most important among them Ron Meyer Jr., a spokesman for the conservative group American Majority Action (an organization that has been railing at Boehner's leadership from the right). Meyer said on MSNBC that sources tell him Boehner will step down from the speakership Wednesday night.
“We need a new speaker,” Meyer said on the news channel. “There are serious rumors that at the conference tonight, at 5 o’clock, John Boehner will announce to the conference that he is resigning as speaker of the House.”
Pressed for more detail, Meyer would only offer the following uninformative reply:
“I’m not going to name names, just watch tonight,” Meyer said.
Well, 5 o'clock came and went and Boehner didn't resign. So much for the credibility of Meyer's contacts close to Boehner.
Still, soon after Meyer made the prediction, the rumor spread quickly. A number of sites posted it online, and by early Wednesday evening Boehner's last name was even trending nationally on Twitter, a social networking site not usually prone to trending topics related to the minutiae of politics.
But most users, like @GaltsGirl, don't believe the hype, and they want to hear it from Boehner's mouth if they are to believe he's actually planning to resign:
"Boehner to resign? Believe it when I hear it through his tears," she tweeted Wednesday.
And she may have the right idea. Until he announces it, rumblings that Boehner may resign are all just rumors.