“I don’t want to leave my successor a dirty barn,” House Speaker John Boehner said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday morning. “So I’m going to clean the barn up a little bit before the next person gets here.”
Boehner’s decision Friday to resign from Congress sparked recriminations among Republicans, not to mention questions of whom his colleagues will select as the next speaker and other GOP leadership positions.
But as Boehner gears up for his last month in Congress, there are still plenty of things to do before he turns the gavel over to his successor.
“I’m going to make the same decisions the same way I have over the last four and a half years—to make sure that we’re passing conservative legislation, that it’s good for the country,” Boehner said.
Sunday morning talk news shows picked up on the questions that loom around a potential government shutdown and the circumstances of Boehner’s resignation.
“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace invited Reps. Tom Cole, R-Okla., and Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., to discuss Boehner’s decision.
Cole, a close ally of Boehner, said his fellow Republican has an “extraordinary range of accomplishments” as speaker. He credited Boehner with deficit reduction and making the Bush tax cuts permanent.
“Look, he’s had to fight for four years with a Democratic president, most of the time with a Democratic Senate,” Cole said. “The sad thing is we have a lot of Republicans honestly telling Republican voters the problem up here are Republicans. The problem up here is Barack Obama and the Democrats. And if we focus on that, we can get something done.”
With a different viewpoint, Mulvaney, a founder of the House Freedom Caucus, believes that Boehner’s stepping down was a good move for Congress.
“We stopped being a co-equal branch of government,” Mulvaney told Wallace about Boehner’s time as speaker.
Wallace questioned whether Mulvaney, and others with similar views, forced Boehner out of his position. Mulvaney pointed to the American people as a reason.
“I think the 72 percent of Republican primary voters who didn’t approve of his job probably forced him out more than anything.”
Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action for America, wrote Friday that Boehner’s resignation was a victory for conservatives. Needham outlined what he’d like to see in the next House speaker in a segment on “Fox News Sunday”:
“We need a Republican leadership that is showing conservative values, is showing how they can make life better for all Americans, and sending that over to the Senate, sending that over to the president’s desk so we can have actual conflict and conversations about the different visions the two parties had. That’s not what we’ve had. We’ve had to fight our own speaker.”
With the budget year set to end on Sept. 30, a possible government shutdown looms on the horizon as a funding bill must be agreed upon this week. Boehner stated on “Face the Nation” that a shutdown will not happen this week.
“I expect my Democrat colleagues want to keep the government open as much as I do,” Boehner said Sunday morning.
Disagreement in Congress over taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood has fueled the stalemate between Republicans and Democrats. America’s largest abortion provider, which receives more than $500 million in federal funding, is embroiled in a controversy over a series of undercover videos.
If legislation is not passed by Congress, Mulvaney argued for Congress to be more assertive. He said the legislative branch will lose its “effective” check against the executive branch otherwise.
“We have over-promised and under-delivered,” Mulvaney said. “We’re paying more attention to worrying about polls and who’s getting blamed for a shutdown, or more attention the filibuster rules in the Senate than actually helping people and doing what we promised we would do.”
Cole stated that with a Democratic president in the White House, compromise is necessary.
Boehner offered advice for his successor on “Face the Nation.”
“Do the right things for the right reasons,” he said. “Keep the country’s best interest in mind and have the courage to do what you can do.”