House Republicans split over how much more to make fools of themselves over Hillary Clinton

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton listens to a question as she testifies before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, on Capitol Hill in Washington October 22, 2015. The congressional committee is investigating the deadly 2012 attack on

Because grilling Hillary Clinton for 11 hours, spending a lot of that time focusing on her emails rather than on Benghazi, worked so well for Republicans, they’re debating how hard to keep going after her emails. Former House Speaker John Boehner had kept committee chairs like Jason Chaffetz from making total asses of themselves “investigating” Clinton’s email set-up, but there’s a new speaker in town and some Republicans are hoping Paul Ryan will let them take the reins. Some of the usual suspects are all for it:

“I just think it needs to happen. … We already know [Clinton] messed up,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a member of the Benghazi and Oversight committees who remains skeptical of Clinton because a handful of her emails have surfaced from other sources, even though Republicans asked for all her Libya-related correspondence from the State Department. “It seems to me we have to

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Paul Ryan: caught between the House crazies and big business with no exit in sight

U.S. Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) pauses as he speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas - RTS5DA3

House Speaker Paul Ryan is now smack dab in the middle of the fight for the heart of the Republican Party—a Jets v. Sharks type feud between the pro-business, or Chamber of Commerce, Republicans and the tea party conservatives. Both are signifying their tepid support for him while they watch and wait, reports Carl Hulse.

The chamber and groups like the Business Roundtable and the National Association of Manufacturers loved Mr. Boehner, a Chamber of Commerce Republican if ever there was one. They praise Mr. Ryan, but do not seem totally sure what to expect. Mr. Donohue called him a “quality person and someone who shares many of the views of the business community.” […]
Hard-right conservatives who know and like Mr. Ryan seem ready to give him a chance. But Heritage Action also noted that “no member of Congress is above accountability,” while FreedomWorks said, “Paul Ryan’s

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Once again, conservatives utterly defeated by Nancy Pelosi

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (L) applauds as Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) reacts during an event posthumously awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to Capitol fresco painter Constantino Brumidi (1805-1880),

People celebrate victory in different ways.

My late, beloved grandmother loved to play poker. Her name was Doris. She wasn’t a World Series of Poker-level player. As a 5-year-old, I once helped her by pointing out that she was about to fold with a full house. The other ladies seated around the folding table in the rumpus room of her co-op building were none too pleased when I did.
One thing you ought not to do in poker is repeatedly overplay your hand—and the same maxim applies to politics. House Republican conservatives, known as the so-called “Freedom Caucus,” have done so repeatedly. This week, when the players in Congress finally laid down their cards, one woman—a grandmother of eight, in fact—took the pot. Her name is Nancy. Nancy Pelosi.

The House of Representatives is currently, er, blessed with the largest Republican majority since the 1928 elections brought us President Herbert

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Cartoon: Paul Ryan shrugs

We’ve heard about the kooky right wing politicians in the “Freedom Caucus,” but what about the smart budget wonk who is apparently going to reign them in? Now that House Republicans have nominated Paul Ryan to be speaker of the House, he is pledging to get things done and be the grown up in the room.

Um, this is the same Paul Ryan who proposed numerous draconian budgets that just didn’t add up, right? What he proposed in the past and was initially seen as crazy-right-wing-applesauce, has now earned him a top spot as a wise budget sage and unifying figure. Methinks we’re still in for some serious fights.  

The Freedom Caucus is so nutty, they think Paul Ryan, the guy who wants to privatize Social Security, abolish corporate income taxes, estate taxes and capital gains taxes, is a bit of a RINO squish. Well, at

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Congrats, Paul! Now disband your ridiculous Benghazi and Planned Parenthood committees

Newly elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan wields the speaker's gavel for the first time on Capitol Hill in Washington October 29, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron  - RTX1TUEO

Hopefully Paul Ryan enjoyed basking in the glow of his speakership swearing in, cuz it’s over. Democrats promptly submitted their first request Thursday in the form of a letter from Rep. Louise Slaughter of New York, reports Jennifer Bendery:

“While your predecessor assumed the speakership with promises of restoring the House ‘as a place where the people’s will is done,’ he leaves Congress saddled with two partisan committees that waste the taxpayer’s money and distract from the true business of running the country,” Slaughter wrote. “You now have the chance for a fresh start.”
The Benghazi committee has spent nearly $5 million investigating the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, despite seven previous congressional investigations into the incident finding no wrongdoing by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. […]

“Dismantling this committee should be the easiest decision of your speakership, and would send a clear signal that

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Paul Ryan elected Speaker of the House

Nancy Pelosi, Paul Ryan, John Boehner as Ryan becomes Speaker of the House. 10/29/2015

The remarkable debacle kicked off last month when John Boehner announced he was leaving Congress and the speakership has finally been resolved. Rep. Paul Ryan won the Republican conference’s nomination to be Speaker of the House on Wednesday, but only got 200 of the necessary 218 votes needed to win the full floor vote. That united front of opposition from the Freedom Caucus types melted Thursday morning, when their chosen candidate Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) urged his supporters to support Ryan. Reps. David Brat (VA), Curt Clawson (FL), Louie Gohmert (TX), Paul Gosar (AZ), Walter Jones (NC), Tom Massie (KY), Bill Posey (FL), Randy Weber (TX) and Ted Yoho (FL) voted Webster anyway, and in the final vote, Ryan easily got the votes he needed, 236.
How he got to the point of securing those votes is the subject of a Politico article this morning.

When North Carolina Rep. Mark

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House passes budget agreement, debt ceiling hike

Screenshot of House vote on budget/debt ceiling agreement, 10/28/2015.

The House passed the budget and debt ceiling deal negotiated by outgoing Speaker John Boehner, his congressional leadership counterparts, and the White House Wednesday, in a 266-167 vote. Democrats voted unanimously for the bill, the majority of Republicans against it.
In addition to setting spending levels for the next two years, the deal takes an immediate threat off the table—the debt ceiling has to be raised by November 3 or the government risks defaulting on our debts. The House acted in time to avoid that—and take a critical hostage away from the nihilists among them—and will still be able to take Friday of this week off, presumably needing the extra time to get their Halloween costumes together. This debt ceiling will be lifted until March 2017 in this bill.

The new spending levels break the sequester caps, increasing spending overall in the next two years by $112 billion. Of that,

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House Republicans prepare to pick their new speaker

U.S. Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC) (L) and Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) arrive for a Republican caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, October 9, 2015.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTS3QKG

Well, isn’t this sweet?

Washington (CNN) Rep. Trey Gowdy, a favorite of House conservatives, will nominate Paul Ryan to be the next speaker, a source close to the Wisconsin Republican told CNN Tuesday night.

Maybe that’s Gowdy’s consolation prize for having pretty much no one take him seriously as a potential speaker candidate. Or for having been so deeply, deeply embarrassed by Hillary Clinton his 11-hour debacle of a Benghazi hearing.
The vote is scheduled for 1:30 PM ET Wednesday, which is notable for the simple reason that it’s being held before any of the votes on the big budget deal which Ryan insists he had nothing to do with and hates, even though he is going to vote for it.

10:46 AM PT: They’re nearly as slow as the Senate. They are still filing into the conference room.

10:54 AM PT: Finally.

Paul Ryan hates the budget deal his staff helped create

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) questions Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on

Boy, incoming House Speaker Paul Ryan is mad about the whole budget deal that he wants the world to know he had absolutely nothing to do with. Nope, his fingerprints aren’t on it at all. It was all that horrible John Boehner’s doing, so the Freedom Caucus can’t blame little ol’ him for this deal they all hate so much (but which Ryan will still support).
The problem of this narrative from Ryan is that the fingerprints of his staff are all over the deal.

One of its most important provisions makes changes to the Social Security Disability Insurance program, and some of those changes came from the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees Social Security and which Ryan chairs.
“Paul Ryan’s staff was involved in crafting the provision for weeks,” a Democratic aide told HuffPost. “His staff signed off on the provision, his staff also signed off

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House extremists will give one last obscene gesture to Boehner, opposing his budget deal

House Speaker John Boehner smokes at a picnic for Members of Congress, hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington June 15, 2011.

His last hurrah.

The House will vote Wednesday on the budget deal negotiated by leadership, the last opportunity for Speaker John Boehner’s problem children to tell him they think he’s a poopyhead, which they are expecting to do by voting against it.

House Republicans are facing a last-minute uprising against Speaker John Boehner’s budget deal, as dozens of GOP lawmakers are telling leadership they might vote against the package because of changes to crop insurance programs, and other concerns.
Senior GOP lawmakers estimate that between 60 and 120 Republicans will vote for the package as is, leaving Democrats to supply the vast majority of votes, though the vote count is fluid at this time. Aides in both parties expect the bill to pass, but the number of GOP defections is a notable rebuke to Boehner and other top Republicans.

Despite the demands of some Freedom Caucus members, incoming House Speaker

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House Freedom Caucus guy demands Paul Ryan vote against the budget deal

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (C) leaves a meeting about his bid to be the next Speaker of the House with moderate members of the House Republican caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington October 22, 2015.      REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTS5O4T

He’s not going to be smiling for long.

The people House Speaker John Boehner gave the keys to have no intention of letting them go. They’re putting likely incoming Speaker Paul Ryan on notice about what they will and will not expect of him, and the first thing they expect is that he vote against the budget deal.

One of the members of the House Freedom Caucus on Tuesday called on all candidates for speaker to oppose the, in his words, “monstrosity of a budget deal” that would stave off a government shutdown.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) blasted the bipartisan deal that was being pushed by outgoing House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).

“Leadership’s determination to ram through this legislation days before we reach the debt limit, with zero input from rank and file Members of Congress, demonstrates precisely what is wrong with Washington, D.C.,” Meadows said in a

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Congressional nihilists, and Paul Ryan, trash budget deal but are unlikely to kill it

U.S. Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) pauses as he speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas - RTS5DA3

Paul Ryan wants you to know he doesn’t like this deal.

Congressional conservatives are not happy that outgoing House Speaker John Boehner negotiated away all their favorite hostages until 2017 in the newly announced budget deal. They’re trashing the deal in both the House and the Senate, though their opposition doesn’t seem large or organized enough to derail the package.
On the Senate side, it’s all Boehner’s fault.

Asked about the tentative agreement after the briefing, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions replied: “My knees quiver at the sound.”
In an interview, Sessions expressed frustration that outgoing Speaker John Boehner was hammering out the deal just days before he plans to give up the gavel for good. “What does Boehner got to do with it?” said an exasperated Sessions, the former top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. “I’m worried about how fast it’s moving. I see no reason for

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Budget, debt ceiling deal close, sources say

U.S. President Barack Obama (C) hosts a bipartisan meeting of Congressional leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, January 13, 2015. Pictured (L to R) are Speaker of the House John Boehner, Obama, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mc


There is panic over John Boehner’s looming departure from the House speakership, and according to one early report, it’s leading the White House to do really stupid shit.

While congressional aides cautioned that the deal was far from certain, and the White House and Treasury Department declined to comment, officials briefed on the negotiations said the emerging accord would call for cuts in spending on Medicare and Social Security disability benefits.

That’s the New York Times. CNN has a bit more detail and is less alarming.

The deal is expected to include $70 billion-$75 billion in increased spending for defense and domestic spending, sources said. That new spending would be offset by sales from the strategic petroleum oil reserve, use of public airwaves for telecommunications companies and changes to the crop insurance program—among other measures. Moreover, the deal would spread out increases in Medicare premiums over time so beneficiaries

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Paul Ryan doomed before he begins

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland March 15, 2013.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3F1C1

He won’t be smiling for long.

CNN reports the obvious about Rep. Paul Ryan’s probable new job.

Rep. Paul Ryan is walking into a hornet’s nest.
After he managed to win support from his warring caucus, the full House is expected to elect Ryan as speaker on Thursday. But he won’t have much time to celebrate, because he will immediately confront a series of divisive issues that could undermine his hold on the speakership just as he reaches the pinnacle of his career.

“Paul has monumental obstacles,” said Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona.

Ya think? And that’s just this week. Unless outgoing Speaker John Boehner enacts some serious magic before Wednesday, when House Republicans vote for speaker, the first job out of the gate for Ryan will be passing a debt limit increase. His deadline is next Monday, November 3, and as of now, the House is not scheduled to be

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Paul Ryan kindles hope in the Senate, blind rage in extremists

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) questions Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on

House Republicans are expected to vote Wednesday to replace outgoing Speaker John Boehner, with a full floor vote on Thursday if everything proceeds according to plan. Opposition to the anointed one—Rep. Paul Ryan—from extremists in the so-called Freedom Caucus doesn’t yet threaten that vote, but things can change fast in the House. Ryan secured the support of roughly 70 percent of the Freedom Caucus, but the 30 percent who are opposed aren’t going quietly and are being egged on from the outside.

The anger over Ryan’s ascent has been fueled by voices across the conservative media landscape. On the Internet, sites such as and the Drudge Report have pumped out a steady stream of anti-Ryan stories casting doubt on his record, while such prominent commentators as Erick Erickson, Ann Coulter and Mickey Kaus have sharpened their teeth and urged conservatives to contact lawmakers and tell them to spurn

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Boehner appoints Republicans to give Planned Parenthood the Benghazi treatment

House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. November, 2014.

Outgoing House Speaker John Boehner pulled out his binder of women to attack women’s health care.

The Benghazi Committee is going so well that House Speaker John Boehner has decided it’s time for another select committee to carry out a partisan witch hunt against something that Republicans are already investigating the crap out of. Yup, Planned Parenthood.

“At my request, three House committees have been investigating the abortion business, but we still don’t have the full truth,” Boehner said in a statement Friday.

Sound familiar? The whole truth! Then again, when your Oversight Committee chair is brandishing a chart that makes 327,000 look bigger than 935,573, it’s reasonable to hope that putting someone else in charge of the investigation will make your party look less buffoonish.
Except that’s not exactly how it’s worked out with Benghazi, is it?

The committee will be led by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). Its

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Paul Ryan caves to a second Freedom Caucus demand, before he’s even elected speaker

Paul Ryan in profile

Paul Ryan isn’t even speaker of the House yet, but he already seems to be following in John Boehner’s tradition of weakness and caving to the far-far-far right of the Republican Party. First, he agreed to run despite not getting the full endorsement of the Freedom Caucus. Now, another of his demands for agreeing to take the speaker job has bitten the dust:

Rep. Paul Ryan has agreed to delay a discussion about reforming the procedural motion used to remove a House speaker, a major concession to the House Freedom Caucus.
The Wisconsin Republican, now the presumptive next speaker of the House, delivered the message to Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the chairman of the Freedom Caucus, according to multiple sources familiar with the discussion. Possible changes to the so-called “motion to vacate” will now come as part of a larger discussion of reworking internal party and House rules.


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Paul Ryan will run for speaker … if his demands are met

Rep. Paul Ryan at CPAC 2014

Okay, fine. Republican dream boy Paul Ryan will graciously accept the title of speaker of the House and even do some of the work associated with it, as long as his conditions are met. Those conditions: He requires the endorsement of three key Republican caucuses—the Freedom Caucus, the Republican Study Group, and the Tuesday Group. He requires changes to and perhaps the abolition of the motion to vacate the chair, the procedure for removing the speaker that Republican extremists had been trying to use against current Speaker John Boehner. And he won’t abandon his family to travel the country fundraising as much as previous speakers have had to.
And if Ryan doesn’t get all those promises, he’ll walk—or rather, stay in his current role as chair of the Ways and Means Committee. That means that if you’re a House Republican who doesn’t want total chaos as every shrimp with ambition

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Surprise: Boehner might not have the votes to raise the debt ceiling

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (not pictured) speak to reporters at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington October 7, 2015. McCarthy is vying for Boehner's House Speaker position at the end of th

John Boehner will need to draw at least 30 GOP votes in order to raise the $18.1 trillion debt ceiling by Nov. 3, assuming the entire Democratic caucus also votes for the bill. It’s an uphill battle, reports Peter Schroeder:

Boehner was only able to pull 28 votes the last time the House approved a clean debt-ceiling increase — and one-third of those lawmakers have since left Congress.
Now Boehner is even weaker politically, and he has little time to act. […]

The White House has refused to negotiate on raising the debt ceiling, and talks on funding the government appear to be on a separate track — giving Boehner little leverage.

When Boehner put forward a bill last month to keep the government funded through mid-December that didn’t also defund Planned Parenthood, he managed to draw 91 Republican votes even as right-wing conservatives registered their objections with

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Ryan open to running for speakership but not to negotiating with the House crazies

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)

We have to wonder if this negotiation is over before it started. Paul Ryan is now saying he’s open to running for a job he really doesn’t want with one stipulation: absolutely no concessions to the House crazy caucus. Nancy Cordes reports:

Ryan’s confidants tell CBS News he will not horse trade with the House Freedom Caucus, a group of 40 or so deeply conservative members who have been demanding changes to House rules and other very specific promises from candidates for Speaker in exchange for their support. Ryan’s confidants say he is not going to negotiate for a job he never sought, and that he has a record of conservative leadership that should be clear to every member of the GOP conference.

This thing if far from over, as Erica Werner notes.

More than a half-dozen lawmakers are considering running for speaker if Ryan does not, even as

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