A whopping 34 courageous conservative Republicans shocked the political world on Thursday by severely wounding—and nearly killing—Obamatrade on a purely procedural vote.
by MATTHEW BOYLE11 June 2015
Most importantly about this is that the vote passed with less than a majority of the full House of Representatives. Speaker
The vote, which nearly failed and would have ended Obamatrade right there, was a necessary procedural hurdle—a rule—that was must-pass for Obamatrade to make its way to the House floor for final consideration on Friday. What’s more, the nearly successful effort to kill Obamatrade—which has been lobbied heavily for by House GOP leadership, particularly the program’s chief architect Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)—means that there’s blood in the water around Obamatrade everywhere in the eleventh hour.
The 34 conservatives who stood up to the Washington establishment are:
“Americans should be proud that 34 Republicans put their country before their political party today,” Americans for Limited Government president Rick Manning tells Breitbart News. “Their vote to stop Obamatrade dead in its tracks is one that sets the stage for tomorrow’s defeat of enabling him to fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other treaties. The nation owes these 34 heroes a debt of gratitude.”
Glyn Wright, the executive director of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, tells Breitbart News:
We are grateful to the 34 Republicans bold enough to vote NO on the rule. It was a tough vote for many, but a bold statement about the disgraceful policy and process. We hope that more members will show this kind of courage tomorrow. I am told by many Members of Congress that the calls from constituents against the bill are running 20:1. We will see tomorrow who is listening to their constituents and who is beholden to big business and leadership.
The bill would have been killed entirely on the rule—something so extraordinary it virtually never happens, though during the “CRomnibus” fight last year it almost did as well—if it weren’t for eight Democrats bailing out Boehner and Ryan. Those Democrats are:
If those eight Democrats had voted against the rule–as they normally do, as these votes usually fall along party lines–the vote would have failed 220-209 and Obamatrade would have been dead.
It’s almost unheard of for Republicans to vote against a Republican rule, especially in numbers this high. So this was a serious rebuke to GOP leadership.
What’s more, one of the members who voted against the rule, Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), has been cited by GOP leadership in its efforts to push Obamatrade, so his decision to vote against the rule on this is significant. Salmon, however—who is considering running against Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) —destructed the credibility of a primary effort against McCain with this, as he’s unlikely to be able to gain any real traction on the trail with his continued support for Obamatrade—support his office confirms he maintains after an op-ed he wrote back in late May.
“Rep. Salmon very much supports TPA and intends to vote in favor of it today,” Salmon spokesman Tristan Daedalus told Breitbart News. “He voted against yesterday’s rule because he was against the convoluted procedure that leadership used to bring TPA to the floor. The bottom line is that TPA will allow Congress to set the parameters on negotiating future trade agreements and ensure Congress is included in those negotiations; failing to pass TPA will not stop the President from negotiating in secret, but it will ensure the American people are kept in the dark.”
His office also confirms he doesn’t care that this vote for TPA that he plans to cast later on Friday is politically detrimental to any effort he previously hoped to launch against McCain.
“Any assertion that Rep. Salmon factors political aspirations into how he votes is flatly wrong and grossly incorrect,” Daedalus said. “Rep. Salmon bases all of his votes on principles, not politics.”
Fellow potential McCain challenger state Sen. Kelli Ward has been aggressively publicly against Obamatrade, and she’s now—with Salmon’s support for it—the only remaining credible potential primary challenger to McCain as with this vote it’s hard to see Salmon successfully edging out Ward in the bid to take down McCain for the Senate seat.
With the exception of Salmon, of course, it can be expected that each of the other 34 Republicans who voted against this rule will vote against final passage of TPA on Friday, unless something significant changes. That means there are several more Republicans who will likely vote against TPA on Friday than voted against this rule. They include:
It still remains to be seen what happens next, but one House Republican aide from an office that’s publicly undecided, voted for the rule but is unlikely to support Obamatrade on final passage told Breitbart News that if the outside pressure from grassroots and conservative media continues until the final vote, it’s likely Obamatrade will die on the floor on Friday.
“My sense is the same [that there’s blood in the water everywhere around this deal],” the aide said. “They won’t stop till they have the votes. In reality this is Barack Obama’s fault. He’s never been good at politicking or leadership for that matter so the root of why this will fail is all on him – and the last 6 years of his presidency.”
In fact, that aide has noted, there are plenty of House Republicans who plan to vote no on Obamatrade when it hits the House floor on Friday—even though they’re not public about it at this time. The pressure has been high as leadership lobbies hard for this, but if it doesn’t pass on Friday it’s hard to see GOP leadership succeed in reviving it after it dies if that’s what happens.
It looks like one of the North Carolina GOP Congressmen who voted against reelectingRep. John Boehner (R-OH) N/A% as Speaker this year may get a primary challenge from the GOP establishment. The Raleigh News and Observer reports that state Secretary of Transportation Tony Tata is mulling moving across the state into the 3rd Congressional District to challenge conservative incumbentRep. Walter Jones (R-NC) 84%. Jones was one of two North Carolina GOP congressmen to vote for a Republican challenger to Speaker John Boehner earlier this year and continues to meet weekly with a group of conservative congressman working to replace Boehner.
Tata, who moved to NC six years ago to take the position of Superintendent of the Wake County Schools has never lived in the 3rd district and never been registered as a Republican in North Carolina. Even after appointment as Secretary of Transportation in the administration of Republican Governor Pat McCrory, Tata has remained registered as an Unaffiliated voter. Tata has run up a trial balloon to run for Congress in a district where he does not live under the banner of a party of whicch he is not a member. Tata’s potential candidacy was boomed by consultant Carter Wrenn in the newspaper article. Wrenn is the same consultant who quarterbacked the election of Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) 61%, the most liberal Republican in the NC delegation, to Congress.
Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) 84% is known as the fiercest Budget Hawk in the North Carolina delegation. For many years, he has consistently voted against raising the debt limit, and he has been a dependable vote against Speaker Boehner’s series of budget and debt cave ins to Obama. Jones was the only North Carolina Republican to vote against CRomnibus on both the procedural vote on the rule and on the final vote. Jones has maintained a consistent A rating from the NRA and from National Right to Life. His commitment to the unborn is symbolized by the lapel pin of two tiny feet he always wears on his jacket.
Another area where Jones and Tata do not see eye to eye is immigration. Jones is the NC delegation’s fiercest immigration hawk, earning the only ”A” raring from major anti-amnesty organization Numbers USA in NC. Tata on the other hand, controversially sided with liberal NC Attorney General Roy Cooper to authorize giving NC drivers licenses to illegal alien ”Dreamers” in NC.
Tata’s role as DOT Secretary may not play well in the rural east of North Carolina. Tata put through a new scheme of allocation of road building funds which stripped money from rural areas like the 3rd district to funnel them to urban areas like Wake County, where Tata lives. As DOT Secretary, Tata has mostly staffed the policy levels of his department with non-Republicans, including a cadre of career education bureaucrats.
Overall, for the last session of Congress, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) 84% tied with the 11th district’sRep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) 89% as the second most conservative congressman in the NC delegation in the Club for Growth rating.
Jones was the target of a major primary challenge from the Washington beltway establishment in 2014, when a young Washington, DC PR man / lobbyist named Taylor Griffin, who had never before lived in the district but had grown up in a neighboring district, was parachuted in to run against Jones, backed by lots of establishment money. National conservative pundits Rush Limbaugh and Pat Buchanan singled out Jones victory over the well funded Griffin challenge as a major primary victory that cycle by conservatives over the establishment. That primary was closer than it should have been because the Jones campaign was slow to comprehend the level of resources that the establishment had committed to the Griffin effort.