Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is signaling that at least one thing will change about his leadership during the 113th Congress: he's telling Republicans he is done with private, one-on-one negotiations with President Obama.
During both 2011 and 2012, the Speaker spent weeks shuttling between the Capitol and the White House for meetings with the president in the hopes of striking a grand bargain on the deficit.
Those efforts ended in failure, leaving Boehner feeling burned by Obama and, at times, isolated within his conference.
In closed-door meetings since leaving the "fiscal cliff" talks two weeks ago, lawmakers and aides say the Speaker has indicated he is abandoning that approach for good and will return fully to the normal legislative process in 2013 -- seeking to pass bills through the House that can then be adopted, amended or reconciled by the Senate.
"He is recommitting himself and the House to what we've done, which is working through regular order and letting the House work its will," an aide to the Speaker told The Hill.
The shift could have immediate ramifications as Congress heads into its next showdown over raising the debt ceiling and replacing steep automatic cuts to defense and domestic spending that are now set to take effect in March. It will also impact other presidential priorities like immigration reform and gun control.
Republican lawmakers say they expect the House majority to draft and pass its own debt-ceiling proposal, which would then add pressure on the Democratic leadership in the Senate.
For Boehner in particular, it will be easier said than done.
The Speaker is ending his first term weaker than at any point during his two years with the gavel. He was unable to win enough Republican votes for his own fiscal-cliff fallback plan last month, and in the final hours of the 112th Congress, watched as more than half of his conference -- including his two top lieutenants in leadership -- voted against the Senate's tax compromise. Earlier Tuesday, party leaders failed to garner enough GOP support to amend the Senate bill.
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 01/03/2013
Editor's Note: It's about freakin' time.
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