Speaker John Boehner: Now the hard part begins
As Speaker John Boehner takes up his gavel Wednesday, his agenda and leadership style will come under almost immediate scrutiny. The challenge: to govern and not to obstruct.
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Obama, for his part, says that he realizes the new speaker will have to play to his conservative base for a period of time, through such things as the health-care repeal vote. But he also believes that the GOP will realize it now has more of a share in actual governance, and will work with him as it did on the compromise bill to extend the Bush tax cuts passed in the recently-ended lame duck session of Congress.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures John Boehner
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“My hope is that John Boehner and [Senate minority leader] Mitch McConnell will realize that there will be plenty of time to campaign for 2012 in 2012,” Obama said after returning to Washington from his Hawaii vacation.
Prior to its upcoming vote on health-care reform, the new House will strike a different note in that one of its first orders of business will be a reading, aloud, of the US Constitution. Under Boehner, bills must list the specific part of the Constitution that supports their intent.
“The new House, responding to the voters who sent them to Washington, will have thrown down the gauntlet, and the real work will then begin,” writes Mr. Pilon in an e-mail to reporters.
House to cut its own budget
On Thursday, the new House is also expected to vote on a 5 percent cut in its own budget, for an estimated savings of $35 million over the rest of the fiscal year. GOP House leaders say they will continue to vote on bills to cut spending of some sort at least once a week for the foreseeable future.
But the future of spending cuts also likely points out the difficulty for Boehner of living up to the high expectations raised in the campaign. The GOP promised to cut $100 billion from this year’s budget in its “Pledge to America.” Yet this year’s fiscal year is already one-quarter over, and finding $100 billion in reductions at this point would entail mammoth reductions of up to 30 percent in many popular domestic programs.
Republican aides now say the $100 billion number was a hypothetical, and that $50 billion might be a more reasonable target for the year, according to numerous news reports.
But many of the new tea party-backed members of Congress scoffed at that change, saying that a $100 billion cut would simply put the government back to its 2008 levels.