John Boehner Punishes ObamaTrade Vote but Ignores Abortion Mutiny


It is a cliché to say that actions speak louder than words – but that phrase is more accurately applied to politics than anything else. If you want to gauge what John Boehner and the House Republican leadership really value, just look at the behavior they decide to punish and the deeds they let slide.

Take the case of ObamaTrade vs. abortion.

A handful of Republicans voted against the House leadership on the issue of fast-track, or Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) – a measure that would give President Obama the ability to draw up the terms of trade deals with no oversight from Congress. The president would set the deal, and Congress could not amend it – members would simply have to vote the whole deal up-or-down.

A New York Times/CBS News poll shows 55 percent of Americans oppose fast track/TPA powers, for Obama or any president. Republicans especially have said that giving Obama the power to make deals like a king, without the input of other elected officials, is a mistake, even a betrayal of GOP voters.

A few Congressmen decided to take their role as “representatives” seriously and vote against the measure.

And then the heads began to roll.

Steve Scalise, the number three member of the GOP leadership, immediately purged his whip team of Reps. Trent Franks, R-AZ; Cynthia Lummis, R-WY; and Steve Pearce, R-NM.

Of all people, Steve Scalise, who nearly lost his leadership position after a public scandal, should understand that people deserve second chances. Instead, the punishment just kept coming.

Rep. Mark Meadows was temporarily deposed as chairman of the Government Operations subcommittee, then reinstated after national outrage.

Two Congresswoman close to House leadership – Elise Stefanik of New York and Mimi Walters of California – called a meeting to strip Ken Buck of his role as president of the House freshman class, although Buck survived.

After his high-tech mugging, Meadows accused Boehner and company of instituting a “culture of punishment” in the House.

The message was clear: There is no room for debate when it comes to “free trade.”

But what about the issue most important to Christian and conservative base voters: The right to life?

This January a small group of Republican women – led by Reps. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina and Jackie Walorski of Indiana – temporarily killed the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The bill – originally introduced by Trent Franks – would ban abortion on babies after 20 weeks, because they can feel pain.

Ellmers and Walorski’s uprising spiked the bill for months.

This was no small betrayal. All the leading pro-life groups regarded the 20-weeks ban as their top legislative priority, and the House leadership promised to deliver.

The Republican National Committee delayed its 2014 Winter Meeting so its members could take part in the March for Life in that pivotal midterm year. Then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor promised the crowd that the “House will stand for life,” and that the ban on abortions after 20 weeks, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, would be “a top priority for me and for my colleagues.”

Message: Re-elect us, and we’ll pass this bill.

Despite the fact that it was favored by between 55 and 65 percent of the American people, and it affects only one percent of abortions nationwide, the House leadership allowed these congresswomen to sideline this moderate bill for months.

What retaliation has Boehner, McCarthy, or Scalise taken?
Nada. As Bob Dole would say, “Goose egg.”

Walorski even had the nerve to stand on the stage at the 2015 March for Life the next day and receive a standing ovation, then boast about her “100 percent pro-life” voting record.

Ellmers’ website boasts that she sits on “the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee and is now proud to serve on three of its subcommittees.” That doesn’t appear it will be changed.

No contrast could be clearer: Kill pro-life priorities all you want – even wedge issues favored by a vast majority of the American people – but stand up for the GOP’s big business interests, even when opposed by a similar majority of Americans.

The House leadership needs to get its priorities straight. The best way to do that is to institute a new leadership.

It’s time pro-life, Christian conservatives cleaned House.