House GOP is coming around to John Boehner

Republicans are showing broad support for Boehner, while pushing for a softer stance on tax increases

Topics: John Boehner, Republicans, Taxes, Fiscal cliff, Budget Showdown,

Though there are still some tensions between House Speaker John Boehner and the most conservative members of his caucus, Republicans have been lining up in support of the House Speaker – and pushing for potential concessions on tax increases if it will secure a budget deal.

The New York Times reports this morning that given Republicans’ election night losses and the polls that show that Americans would blame the GOP if the country goes over the “fiscal cliff,” House Republicans are looking at Boehner “with the same sort of respect that adult children award their parents for the sage counsel they ignored in their younger days.”

From the Times:

On Wednesday, in a private meeting between Mr. Boehner and House Republicans, member after member spoke in support of him, in some cases saying a deal they would have rejected six months ago would most likely be taken today.

“I want to be a strong advocate and say that I am with the speaker,” said Representative Scott Rigell of Virginia, a House freshman. “I am with the leadership.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., who has occasionally undermined Boehner over the past two years, is also falling in line, signing on to Boehner’s framework for a budget deal.

“I think the presidential election has something to do with it,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. “We understand that we’re going to have to deal with Obama for four more years. Also, there is an understanding that this is a very serious situation.”

Republicans are also signaling support for increased  taxes on the wealthiest Americans, if it will help them put cuts to entitlement programs into place.

From the Washington Post:

Many GOP centrists and some conservatives are calling on House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) to concede on rates now, while he still has some leverage to demand something in return. Republicans are eager to win changes to fast-growing safety-net programs, such as raising the eligibility age for Medicare and applying a less-generous measure of inflation to Social Security benefits.



“I and some others are advocating giving the president what he wants,” said Rep. Steven C. LaTourette, R-Ohio, adding:  “Quite frankly, some people in this 2 percent who call me, they’re more worried about the fiscal cliff than about the rates going up a couple points. That has bigger risk for them.”

Rep. Thomas J. Rooney, R-Fla., told the Post: “If there are truly real entitlement reforms that are going to preserve Social Security and Medicare for generations to come, it’s going to be very difficult for me to oppose” higher tax rates on the wealthiest Americans.

Even the very conservative Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, is preparing himself for higher taxes: “The president is going to get some form or fashion of revenue. That’s baked into current law,” he said. “I didn’t vote for it. I don’t want it. But I recognize it, and House Republicans will work to minimize the damage to the economy.”

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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