Boehner to GOP members: 'Get your ass in line'
July 27th, 2011
04:12 PM ET
11 years ago

Boehner to GOP members: 'Get your ass in line'

Washington (CNN) – House Speaker John Boehner leveled tough words at fellow Republicans Wednesday, telling conservatives who are unhappy his bill doesn't go far enough to "Get your ass in line."

Boehner's admonishment came during a closed-door meeting, during which House GOP leaders sought to rally support for their debt bill, according to two Republican sources who attended the meeting.

The Ohio Republican told members he was working hard and didn't want to turn around and not see an army behind him.

House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia also said it was time to pull together and pass the House GOP debt bill, instead of feeding a storyline that pits Republican against Republican.

But the meeting turned into exactly that-a venting session with Republicans turning on each the other-and exposing an ugly split among the rank and file.

Several members were furious when they learned that staff members for the Republican Study Committee - a group of fiscally conservative lawmakers - sent emails to outside groups encouraging them put pressure on fellow Republicans to oppose Boehner's plan. Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, who heads the group, apologized at the start of the meeting, indicating his staff sent the emails without his knowledge, according to GOP sources. After he spoke, several members shouted that Jordan's top aide, Paul Teller, should be fired.

House GOP sources told CNN that one of the emails, sent by a junior RSC staffer, included a target list of 30 RSC members and urged outside groups to lobby against those Republicans back in their districts. In addition, Teller emailed these groups after a GOP meeting Tuesday to alert them that the House GOP plan, which Jordan had already publicly opposed, was gaining support.

One RSC member on the target list, Indiana Republican freshman Rep. Todd Young, stood up at Wednesday's meeting and asked why he was paying dues to a group that was now attacking him.

Oregon Republican Rep. Greg Walden stood up and read Teller's email out loud and asked him to explain, but according to Republicans in the meeting, he declined.

Jordan told reporters he did not know the emails were sent.

Brian Straessle, spokesman for the RSC, apologized in a statement.

"Earlier this week, an RSC staffer sent an inappropriate email to outside groups that identified members of Congress he believed were undecided on the debt reduction proposal offered by the Speaker. This action was clearly inappropriate and was not authorized by the Chairman or any other members of the staff," Straessle said.

"This has never been – and never will be – the way we do business at the RSC. We apologize to everyone affected, and we have already taken steps to ensure that it never happens again – either by this staffer or any other RSC staffer."

While the blow up over the emails highlighted the division in the GOP ranks, there were also signs that Boehner and his leadership team were gaining support for their bill.

Ohio Republican Rep. Steve Chabot had said he was leaning against it, but with the deadline closing in, and facing a Democratic Senate and White House, he told CNN Wednesday he was now inclined to support it in order to avoid a default.

One conservative freshman Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, who noted Jordan was probably counting on him to oppose the bill, said he was leaning yes, telling reporters, "Don't let the perfect get in the way of the doable."

Republican leadership aides were scrambling Wednesday to rewrite the bill to add more spending cuts. They pledged the bill would meet the speaker's test that the spending cuts in the measure exceed the amount of the debt ceiling increase.

A Congressional Budget Office report released late Tuesday stated the bill fell short of that, but House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin walked through the numbers at the Wednesday meeting and explained leaders were tweaking the bill to make it reach that target.

Leaders are still aiming for a vote on Thursday.

Filed under: Congress • Debt • Deficit • Eric Cantor • John Boehner • Republican Study Committee
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Blackman in America

    Cantor and bonehead Boehner are NOT "leaders" neither of them are doing the job they were hired to do and frankly do not know how to "lead" anyone out of wet end of a paper sac. TRIFLIN individuals who think their LIES are believable.

    July 27, 2011 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  2. S. In California - Obama 2012

    Ed Schultz said it all last night. This guy is lazy and does not want to work. His so-called "experience" stems from knowing where the bars are and what drink to order. That's about the extent of it. Leadership and governing are not used when referring to this town drunk. It's a shame so many naive people fell for this weeper. I only hope the good people of Ohio come to their senses in 2012. One can only hope.

    July 27, 2011 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. Chris

    Sadly this is typical of our dysfunctional government. Where party ideology over rules what is good for the country.
    The debt ceiling could get raised so the country does not default and the rest can get hashed out later.

    Just adding things from one side or the other threatens to ruin the country's already fragile recovery.

    We as a nation also tend to fall into the category of sheep and listen to whatever party hacks say, instead of remembering the history of how we got to this point.

    Instead of trying to lay blame take care of the problem simply then get on with your agenda's.
    An old saying from the Army, Keep it Simple Stupid. Instead of adding on all sorts of preconditions for this or that, take care of the immediate problem.
    Just do what has to get done congress and then go back to your bickering. We remember when it comes time to vote so do not worry.

    July 27, 2011 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. Brett

    Over $1 trillion worth of cuts to domestic programs and less than 24 hours (maybe) for the American public and House members to review before Thursday's vote. Great leadership, Mr. Speaker. Is this the transparency you were promising the American people? Pathetic....

    July 27, 2011 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  5. clarke

    They can't even get along with there own.

    July 27, 2011 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  6. truthman

    If CNN can write "ass", does that mean we can? Like in this: the Dems don't care about whether our asses are in line or not, as long as they get to kick it.

    July 27, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  7. The Elephant in The Room

    The Republican Party has already damaged the economy. The Dow DROPPED 200 points today and interest rates on the 10-year Treasury Bond is UP to 2.96%.

    The US is Assured of a downgrade now.Rates are begining to reflect that.

    Under President Obama my 401K had gained 45% since January 20, 2009. I was feeling wealthier and was inclined to spend. The Party of NO has pushed things the other way woth their crusade to make Obama fail.

    July 27, 2011 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  8. Peter E

    Boehner has been a flip-flop and a joke throughout his career.
    His version of a health-care plan was a copy of the democrats' plan with just a few tax breaks for corporations added on top.
    His version of the debt plan is the same as Obama's version was just a month ago.
    He criticizes the continued rising cost of Medicare, a cost rise he voted for under Bush Jr.
    He ciritcizes rising deficits, a criticism he never made for Bush Jr.'s budget items.
    He criticizes his OWN PARTY for not falling in line, when in fact it was he who has been compromising their entire platform away.
    I will be amazed if his own party doesn't throw him out of his speaker position by the end of the year!

    July 27, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  9. truthman

    Is it asinine for the media to stir us up by quoting, "Get your ass in line"? And will I get banned again?

    July 27, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  10. Butterlies1

    OMG, I just saw our stock! Thanks for nothing Republicans, the stocks are starting to tank! You are stepping on so many lives, I don't understand how any of you can stand yourselves! Get this job done. That's what you are so over paid to do, start doing it. Get over your hatred for the President, get over what the tea baggers think this country should be, do your damn jobs. November can't get here fast enough.

    July 27, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  11. Leroy

    C'mon Speaker some peas and finish your homework! No more time for shenanigans!

    July 27, 2011 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  12. al in memphis

    Not a government for the people and based on finding solutions. They want to put together something just to say we cut the budget by the same amount we raised the debt ceiling.
    They let the deficeit run up by $5 trillion during Bush administration, but they want Obama to cut it by trillions under his administration. How do we continue to send our worst to Washington to run this country.

    July 27, 2011 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  13. WTF?

    The Tea Party are about to get hosed! Thanks Speaker Boehner for getting these trained monkey in line.

    July 27, 2011 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  14. Limbaugh is a liberal

    I love how republicans accuse the dems of protecting entitlement programs when in fact it is Boehner's 'Cap' plan that made specific exceptions for Medicare and Social Security, and the current plan also refuses to touch those programs. Reid's 'liberal' bill ends up being closer to the republican demands by making cuts to Medicare and avoiding tax increases. Yay! Democrats apparently are the new conservatives! Boehner is just embarrassing himself now...

    July 27, 2011 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  15. Larry L

    Many Republicans beyond the Tea Party radicals took pledges agreeing to support ridgid ideology rather than use judgement. All of the Republicans from Texas were on the list including both senators. We must all ask ourselves why we pay their salaries, when their votes on critical issues simply rubber-stamp the viewpoint of the special interest group. Why don't we save the money and just ask the angry old white guy (with a hair-piece) leading the group for his position and then simply mark off the respective votes accordingly. The Congressmen would need no staff, no offices, no expense accounts, and best of all – no paycheck!

    July 27, 2011 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  16. GI Joe


    A question for Dems...What makes any of you think you are entitled or required to spend any of my paycheck? I don't want to be the Republican that you want to beat up so please just call me a taxpayer. I work, provide for my family, live within my means, tithe at church, support my local schools and libraries, always pay on time, donate to just about any kid that will knock on my door, support many local and national charities, and support my employees. I think I do more than most for my station in life. I am more than willing to support my country with taxes to pay for defense of her shores, build roads and bridges, and the general business of running a government. But when did any of us sign up for paying for our neighbors' life styles, retirements, healthcare, food, childrens' education, etc??? Don't any of you feel kinda sick to have to pay for everybody else? Do any of you get that these 2 parties are missing the real point and that we just can't go on spending more and more? When will it end, when Gates & Buffet are broke too? Look inward.
    I'm a Dem, and I did all the things you did – PAID INTO SOCIAL SECURITY 48 YEARS AT a very high percentage (maxed out many times). WHY should MY money go to pay subsidies to the wealthy Oil Companies, Farmers, and provide tax loopholes for the wealthy that you and I and most people will NEVER get???

    July 27, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Get over yourself dear, and lighten up. In the midst of these very trying times, humor is a welcome respite.

    July 27, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  18. 619_Fed UP

    Boehner is losing power faster than Japan's nuclear industry. Telling his party that they have to "get your ass in line" with him is pretty telling. No wonder there are no independent thinkers in the GOP. This "If you're not with us, you're against us" mentality is a cancer on their party.

    July 27, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  19. Toronto Guy

    If you are intrigued as to how all of this looks to the Rest of Earth outside the US, I'll tell you:

    Somehow, it is common knowledge outside the US that the Tea Party "movement" are financed by the Koch brothers, who also dictate Tea Party policy. It is also common knowledge that the entire existence of the Tea Party is to ensure that the Koch brothers' taxes don't go up beyond the 17% rate they currently enjoy before loopholes.

    Everything else about the Tea Party - the false patriot jingoism, the misinformation, all the inane braying - is just window dressing.

    Outside of the US, it is also common knowledge that right wing propagandists own a disproportionate amount of your media, which they have used to brainwash the weak of mind so thoroughly that they *demand* policy that will destroy their own lives.

    The cognitive dissonance of the American right wing is *obvious*. Don't let these treasonous lackeys destroy your country. Please.

    July 27, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  20. AZ DEM

    GOOD! He needs to gain control of his caucas and FAST..if this issue gets any worse for the GOP Boehner knows that his chances of remaining Speaker begin to dwindle...say what you want about Pelosi but when she called for a vote she knew she had the votes.

    July 27, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  21. AmericanLady

    I've never seen anything like the Tea Party in my lifetime. It seems no one can negotiate with them. I'm sorry Boehner feels he owes them so much. Many in the GOP are focusing solely on getting the president out of office rather than helping this country get back on its feet. Kristol's comments didn't help (although the honesty was refreshing, I suppose). Please, let's remember that the health of our economy is the number one priority. Spending cuts and tax increases. Let's not let a minority in this country tell the majority to sit down and shut up. Because they really don't know what's best for us.

    July 27, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  22. Debbie

    GOP demands allegiance to party over the people. Facist economics. Etc, etc, etc. All reasons why I left the GOP after 35 years. IF (which I truely doubt) the GOP does not want to do major damage to the 2012 elections it is really quite simple: let the Bush Tax Cuts go. It's chump change to the GOP and that's what the majority of American's want. You will not change the mind of a GOP or TEA vote but they just might get Independent votes in 2012.

    July 27, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  23. stormsun

    It's all about "the party." I AM a member of the GOP, but I am sick to death of the partisan crap. Where is the tough talk aimed at ALL members of Congress to get over their petty, partisan BS, and get to work on the business of the people of the United States. It is a democracy, that means (sorry to remind some folks) that there is give and take involved. Nobody's "party agenda" gets to rule the roost. "One ring to rule them all" is a plot-line in a pretty good fantasy story by JRR Tolkein, but it makes a lousy approach to politics. So get back to work, get the budget crisis resolved, and move on. I'm not sure, but I think the country has one or two other issues to be addressed.

    July 27, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  24. Bill

    Reid does not seem to worried so why should Boehner. Boehner needs to put his bill through Thursday and be done wiht it. One thing for sure is our rating will be downgraded but we are not defaulting either way even if its after Aug 2nd.

    July 27, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  25. Terry from VA

    I am a registered Republican and right now I am ashamed of the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader, and my Party. They have provided the country with their own form of hatred as vile as any I've ever seen. How can our Leadership openly disrespect our President and think the American people don’t see what they are doing? No other president in my 68 years has ever had to endure such ridicule and public embarrassment, all provided by my Party. The Republicans are so determined to destroy this President that they are willing to take our country down in their attempt. Even my eleven year old granddaughter sees through their petty tactics. Do they think that we, the American electorate, are so stupid or do they think that so many of us think like they do; that we would accept any behavior by our elected officials as long as they succeed in ruining our President and the Country to win. Well, they are sorely mistaken. It’s clear to me, and from the polls I think it’s clear to the rest of the American people, that they, they Republican Party, have their own agenda, and that agenda is not in our (the Republican base) or the country’s best interest. You can count on one thing, their childish and disrespectful behavior will be rewarded in 2012. Not only will I change my affiliation, but I will work for the DNC to show the Republicans that their behavior during this debt crisis has been embarrassing and totally unacceptable. I just hope that the Republicans go down in flames before they can take our Country down. God bless the United States of America.

    July 27, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
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