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John Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner is using his floor loss yesterday to chastise the extremists in his caucus.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) delivered a tough message to conservatives who rejected his government funding bill on Wednesday: You voted to spend more money.

Four dozen House Republicans broke ranks and opposed a stopgap spending measure, killing the bill after Democrats pulled their support. GOP leaders are now scrambling to rewrite the measure, and Boehner hinted on Thursday that Republicans would not end up with more spending cuts as a result.

"They could vote 'no,' but what they're in essence doing is they are voting to spend more money, because that’s exactly what will happen," Boehner told reporters when asked for his message to conservatives who deserted him.

Somehow I don't think that's going to solidify his leadership status with these guys. His crocodile tears that Democrats used the vote to "play politics" probably isn't going to provide him much cover there.

"This continuing resolution was designed to be a bipartisan bill. We had every reason to believe that our counterparts across the aisle were supportive," Boehner said. "Once they began to see where some of our votes were, they decided to play politics and vote against disaster relief for millions of Americans who’ve been affected by this."

That, by the way, is not true. The Democrats whipped against the bill and told leadership the votes just wouldn't be there.

The way forward for Boehner isn't going to make him any more friends in his caucus, but if he wants this bill to pass and for his party to not be responsible for a government shutdown, then he doesn't have much choice. He's got to take the FEMA funding out of the bill and pass it clean with Democratic support, and then put the Senate FEMA funding bill on the floor.

Update (4:35 ET) So it seems like Boehner has decided that his only option is to set up a showdown with the Senate over a shutdown. He's trying to get Republicans unified behind the bill they rejected yesterday, and will include a different offset (as of yet undisclosed) than the energy program. But he's got to get them all for it to work.

This means Republicans will largely be going it alone. At a simultaneous press conference, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said no offsets will be acceptable to her party.

"There has never been an offset for disaster assistance. You heard the distinguished chairman of the Appropriations Committee Mr. Rogers say 'Oh we've done this with emergencies all the time.' It's a different word. There are many emergencies, a natural disaster is something else."

The offset, Roll Call reports [sub. req.] is very political. "The House continuing resolution is expected to remain virtually unchanged from the failed measure — except for the addition of a $100 million offset for the $3.6 billion in disaster funding. The $100 million would come from a Department of Energy program that provided loan guarantees to Solyndra LLC, a bankrupt Fremont, Calif., solar-panel maker." Who's playing politics now, Mr. Speaker?

And it's apparently not substitute offset, as a GOP aide tells TPM's Brian Beutler that it's "in addition to $1.5 billion hybrid vehicle program."

There are a couple of procedural votes to get through before the House gets to this, possibly around 7:00 or 8:00 ET tonight.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 11:51 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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