The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

October 17, 2013

Boehner's jam: Caucus loves but won't follow him

Tea party members accept Boehner got best with what they gave him

Eds: Corrects name in contributor's line to Henry C. Jackson. With AP Photos.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress' debt-and-spending breakthrough crystalized a political contradiction.

House Republicans refuse to let their supposed leader, Speaker John Boehner, steer them toward big policy decisions, leaving him to endure repeated public embarrassments. Yet they rally around Boehner as much as ever, affirming his hold on the speakership Wednesday even as they choked down a Democratic-crafted bill to reopen the government, lift the debt ceiling and give Republicans only a few small concessions.

"He's done a good job keeping us together," said Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C.

"I think his stock has risen tremendously, and certainly he has great security as our leader and our speaker," said Rep. John Fleming, R-La.

Imagine the praise from Republicans who voted in favor of the bill, which Boehner described as the best deal he could get under the constraints his colleagues handed him. Hudson and Fleming were among the 144 House Republicans who voted "no," forcing their leader once again to pass a high-profile measure that most GOP members opposed. Eighty-seven Republicans voted for it, joining all the Democrats in the chamber.

Hudson and Fleming also are among the House's dozens of tea party-backed Republicans, whose disdain of compromise has vastly complicated the speaker's job. Even before Wednesday, House Republicans' habit of praising but not heeding Boehner reflected the tea party's devotion to putting principle above deal-making.

Boehner is a seasoned legislator. He constantly seeks 218 votes needed to pass House bills and scraps for the best bargains he can cut with Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama.

Ho-hum, say many rank-and-file Republicans. While polls show Americans chiefly blame Republicans for the debt-and-shutdown gridlock — and GOP Sen. John McCain declared "we have lost this battle" — many of them seemed satisfied with the stand they made. That philosophy surely would have baffled many predecessors in Congress.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Injured snowy owl ready to be released ST. PAUL (AP) — A rare snowy owl that gained national attention when it was apparently hit by a bus in the nation's capital is scheduled to be released into the wild after a rehab stint in Minnesota. The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota

    April 18, 2014

  • Court case to test 'Buy the Farm' law NEW PRAGUE (AP) — A case set for trial next week is expected to test Minnesota's "Buy the Farm" law, which is meant to require utilities building high-voltage power lines to buy out farms in the way if affected landowners demand it. The case pits th

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge strikes down part of state energy law MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge ruled Friday that part of a Minnesota law designed to promote the use of renewable energy is unconstitutional because it attempts to control business that takes place outside state borders — and she barred Minnesota

    April 18, 2014

  • White House updating online privacy policy A new Obama administration privacy policy released Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites, and it clarifies that online comments, whether tirades or tribut

    April 18, 2014

  • Horse virus cases showing up in Upper Midwest BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State officials in the Upper Midwest are cautioning horse owners about a virus that spreads easily among the animals and can lead to breathing problems, abortions and nervous system disorders. Three cases of equine herpesvirus

    April 18, 2014

  • Bear attacks spark debate: Kill them, or leave them alone? ORLANDO, Fla.—Dallas Smith thinks he has the answer to Central Florida’s black-bear threat, and he’s ready to lock and load it. “I think the fear of God needs to be put back into them,” said Smith, 47, who wants state authorities to lift restriction

    April 18, 2014

  • Tourism push plays up 'Only in Minnesota' ST. PAUL — (AP) — Say goodbye to "More to Explore." Minnesota tourism promoters ushered in a new slogan Thursday that focuses on "Only in Minnesota" experiences as part of their largest-ever advertising campaign. The revamped message kicks off a maj

    April 17, 2014

  • mfp ap pipeline photo Minnesota Pipe Line seeks to expand capacity MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Pipe Line Co. announced plans Thursday to nearly double the capacity of a crude oil pipeline that carries oil from Canada and North Dakota to the two refineries in the Twin Cities that produce most of Minnesota's and much

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Holder asserts his commitment to fighting heroin WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has been crusading for more lenient treatment for nonviolent drug offenders, making it a top priority before he is expected to leave office this year. Recently, however, he has been forced to confront

    April 17, 2014

  • Less-schooled whites lose longevity, study finds ATLANTA — Barbara Gentry slowly shifts her heavy frame out of a chair and uses a walker to move the dozen feet to a chair not far from the pool table at the Buford Senior Center. Her hair is white and a cough sometimes interrupts her speech, but she

    April 17, 2014