WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner again faces a looming threat from conservatives to oust him as speaker, and it’s tying his hands on funding the Department of Homeland Security.
Congress passed a one-week extension of funding just hours before the deadline on Friday night. But the likelihood of passing a longer-term bill this week looks slim, as it might prompt backlash from conservatives and yet another coup attempt.
Two senior House Republican sources tell CNN there’s a serious concern among those close to the Speaker that if he allowed a vote on a clean DHS funding bill, conservatives would make a motion to vacate the chair, a direct challenge to his job.
Conservatives have demanded that any funding bill include a provision rolling back President Barack Obama’s executive action delaying deportations for illegal immigrants. Democrats, meanwhile, remain staunchly opposed to tying the two together, and that fight has kept Congress in a stalemate over the bill all week, sending DHS right up to the funding deadline.
While the Senate passed a clean bill funding DHS through the end of the fiscal year this week, it appears conservative opposition is currently discouraging Boehner from bringing up a similar bill in the House.
Moderate Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Charlie Dent acknowledged he has also heard about conservatives using the fight over this DHS bill to try to remove Boehner.
“Right now, we have to get serious, I think a lot of people better get serious about governing and it’s time for all of these, you know D.C. games to end. I mean all these palace coups or whatever the hell is going on around here has to end, and we have to get down to business of governing.”
Boehner last survived an attempt to oust him at the start of the new Congress, when a handful of conservatives voted against him for speaker but failed to coalesce around an alternative.