President Obama wants money from Congress to deal with the problems at the border, and right-wing groups are pushing back. Greg Sargent says this is potentially a serious problem for John Boehner and the GOP:
While plenty of attention has been lavished, rightly, on what a major political problem the crisis poses for Obama, if you think a few moves ahead, it could pose a major test for Boehner, too. Can the Speaker get $4 billion in spending for Obama to address the crisis through the House? And even if he does, how can he do it without finding himself in a familiar place, i.e., in the cross-hairs of conservatives who don't want the spending to pass, leaving him in need of many Dem votes?If the bill has what Republicans think is too much humanitarian aid for taking care of the kids, they might oppose it, as well as if it doesn't fund enough of a border crackdown or require cuts to other areas of spending.
Despite Boehner's public rhetoric, there are signs he wants to get to Yes on funding the response to the crisis, probably because saying No is terrible politics for the GOP. Politico reports that Boehner privately told Republicans they should approve it before August recess. Meanwhile, some Republican officials and strategists are warning that failing to come through with funding is not a political option.
And yet, it's possible major conservative groups will oppose the eventual funding package. Heritage Action has already condemned the president's request.... if the money contains no offsets with cuts elsewhere, it's not impossible the Club [for Growth] could oppose it, too....
And if it doesn't pass, Sargent says, Boehner and the GOP could look really, really bad.
But why? Are Republicans worried about the impact on the midterms? House Republicans are going to run almost exclusively in extremely safe, custom-crafted red districts. Republican Senate candidates are fighting to take over the upper chamber mostly in red states. In those parts of the country, the GOP voter base has never held Republicans accountable for anything that's going wrong in government -- except, in a couple of cases, their failure to be even more wingnutty than they already are. (See: Eric Cantor and Thad Cochran.) If Republicans in Congress oppose President Obama on this, Republican voters will think, Yes, they're being True Conservatives! Obama will get 100% of the blame for inaction.
Maybe, out of unwarranted fear, Republicans will ultimately deign to pass something -- but it will very much on their terms. Whether they realize it or not, politically they have nothing to lose if they do nothing, as long as they can persuade their constituents that the paralysis is all Democrats' fault.
And they never seem to have any trouble doing that, do they?