GOP Rep.: Boehner’s a Goner If He Brings Up Immigration Bill Without Majority GOP Support

By Elizabeth Harrington | June 26, 2013 | 2:44pm EDT

Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) (AP)

( – Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) said he believes that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) would be thrown out as speaker if he allowed a vote on immigration reform legislation that a majority of House Republicans opposed.

That view was echoed by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), who said a leader who uses “his authority to circumvent that majority would be cause for dismissal.”

Allowing such a vote to go forward could be the “straw that breaks the camel’s back” for Boehner said a group of conservatives on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

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At the event, “Conversations with Conservatives,” asked the members: “Rep. Rohrabacher has said that if Speaker Boehner allows an immigration bill to come to a vote in the House without the majority support of House Republicans that he ‘should be removed as Speaker.’  Do you agree with Rep. Rohrabacher?”

“Whether he should or not, I think he would [be removed],” said Salmon.  “I think there’s a great unrest.”

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) was more direct.

“The American people elected a Republican majority in the House of Representatives,” he said.  “Were a leader of that majority to use his authority to circumvent that majority would be cause for removal, in my judgment.”

Salmon said he has been working on codifying the so-called Hastert rule in the Republican conference, named after former Speaker Dennis Hastert, which required majority support from the ruling party in order to bring bills to the floor.

“I think that strengthens Boehner’s hand, I think it strengthens his ability to negotiate with the president to be able to say, ‘there’s a line and I can’t cross it,’” Salmon said.  “I think ultimately it would be a good step and I would hope that he would see it that way as well, and instead of inhibiting him it actually strengthens him, because I am concerned.”

“We’ve already had several pieces of legislation that have gone out of this place with majority of Democrats and a minority of Republicans,” he added.

“I think there needs to be a point in time when there is the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back and as Mr. Rohrabacher spoke out, whether he should or whether he shouldn’t I think there are a lot of members in the conference would probably be frustrated to the point of looking for new leaders,” Salmon said.

“If Speaker Boehner moves forward and permits this [immigration reform bill] to come to a vote even though the majority of the Republicans in the House—and that’s if they do—oppose whatever it is that’s coming to a vote, he should be removed as Speaker,” Rohrabacher said recently.

On June 18, when asked if he could lose his job over immigration reform, Boehner said “maybe,” adding that he is committed to bringing immigration reform to the floor that has majority support of both Republicans and Democrats.

Republicans in the House have relied on Democrats to pass several bills under Boehner’s leadership.  The deal to avert the fiscal cliff in January, which raised taxes on individuals who earn over $400,000, passed 257-167 with the help of 172 Democrats.  151 Republicans voted against the bill.

Last week the Farm bill failed in the House 195-234, after Democrats backed away from the bill.  The Republican leadership was counting on support from 40 Democrats since a block of conservative members were unsatisfied with the bill.  In the end only 24 Democrats voted for it.

“After the vote I said maybe leadership will wake up tomorrow and realize that we’re a lot easier to negotiate with than the Democrats are,” Salmon said of the Farm bill’s failure, “even though they keep going back and doing that time and time again.”

“When’s the last time Harry Reid actually passed a bill out of the Senate with a majority of Republicans and a minority of Democrats?” he said.  “How bout never.

“Maybe we ought to play the same game.”

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