Boehner’s fight to survive

Speaker John A. Boehner’s rise to power was coupled with the rise of the insurgent Tea Party movement, whose members have been difficult to unite.

2010: The Republican Party recaptures the majority in the House, gaining 63 seats. Candidates influenced by the Tea Party movement take office. Boehner is poised to be elected speaker of the House.

Boehner agrees to extend a ban on doling out special projects known as earmarks that had long been used to trade for votes.


2011: President Obama and Boehner publicly spar over debt ceiling negotiations, with Boehner eventually walking away from an Obama-brokered “grand bargain” to cut the deficit and debts and settling on a deal that leads to Standard & Poor’s downgrading the nation’s credit rating.

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2012: As the fiscal cliff crisis comes to a head, Boehner’s strategy to hold off automatic tax hikes, dubbed “Plan B,” does not garner enough support in Congress and is shelved.

Boehner breaks the so-called “Hastert Rule” by allowing a vote without majority support among Republicans, in this case the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, to partially resolve the fiscal cliff. (The House votes on Jan. 1, 2013.)

January 2013 — Boehner allows a vote on aid to victims of Hurricane Sandy, another violation of the “Hastert Rule.” Similar votes would be allowed on the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act the next month.

June 2013 — Conservatives in the House defeat a broad farm bill that
also funded the nation’s food stamp program, a surprise blow to Boehner and other GOP leaders.