House Republicans decided that the tail had wagged the dog long enough.
During a special closed-door meeting July 25, resistance to legislation to address the border crisis from House Republicans’ insurgent wing threatened to paralyze the conference and kill their bill.
House GOP leaders — and more importantly, the vast majority of the rank and file who are conservative pragmatists — fought back. Rather than throw up their hands in frustrated defeat as they had so many times before, they confronted their recalcitrant colleagues.
The fight that saved the border bill has its roots in last October’s government shutdown.
In the weeks leading up to the shutdown, House GOP leadership counseled conservative insurgents against shutting down the government in an attempt to force President Obama to sign a spending bill that defunded his signature health care overhaul.
Republican leaders warned that it would fail, both substantively and politically, and a majority of the rank and file agreed. But a sizable minority of the majority’s conservative insurgents refused to budge.
Leadership and the majority opposed to the shutdown felt cornered and reluctantly joined their insurgent colleagues, deciding that a unified conference trumped division. At the time, when House Republicans were asked who did most of the talking in the closed-door meetings held to consider whether or not to support the shutdown, members said most of those who were outspoken were those who supported the strategy.
That experience had a lasting effect on the silent majority going forward. When the fate of the border bill was in doubt in late July because of opposition from a vocal minority, the vast majority of Republicans who supported the measure were quick to speak up. They were adamant about preventing this group from controlling the direction of the conference.
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John the Speaker and his Congress, told the fringers shut up and take the credit.