Former Rep. Steven LaTourette said Tuesday that House Speaker John A. Boehner tried to save dozens of House Republicans from themselves by attempting to steer them away from Sen. Ted Cruz’s push to link the defunding of Obamacare to the funding of the federal government.
Mr. LaTourette, who like Mr. Boehner is an Ohio Republican, said Mr. Boehner never thought that linking the funding of Obamacare to a government shutdown was a good idea but went along with the strategy after Mr. Cruz’s 21-hour filibuster made the defending push the “cause celebre” of somewhere between 30 and 50 members of the House GOP caucus.
“He came up with not one but two plans to save these folks from themselves, and they rejected it,” Mr. LaTourette said on C-SPAN. “And when you reject it, you are left with either a continued government shutdown, or you have to yield to a deal that is worked out by [Senate leaders] Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid.”
Conservatives in the House torpedoed Mr. Boehner’s last-ditch efforts to put a dent in Obamacare while reopening government and raising the nation’s debt ceiling. They said his plan left too much of the Affordable Care Act intact — though the deal that lawmakers eventually passed was much more to the liking of Democrats than what Mr. Boehner had originally proposed.
Mr. LaTourette, who now serves as president of the Republican Main Street Partnership, said that Mr. Boehner tried to execute Mr. Cruz’s strategy because that is what his caucus wanted, though he never thought the strategy would work.
“He tried to give them opportunities to get something, but not this pie-in-the-sky thing,” Mr. LaTourette said. “Anybody who thinks that President Obama this morning is going to wake up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and all of a sudden go, ‘You know, Obamacare really stinks, and I am willing to get rid of it” — that was not reachable in this split functions of government that we have today.”
A CNN/ORC poll released this week showed that more than half of the public thinks it is bad that Republicans control the House, and more than six in 10 say Mr. Boehner should lose his job.